A Day in the Armstrong House

Welcome to the “Day in Our House” project! We’re shadowing the regular, ordinary days of some awesome stay-at-home/work-from-home mothers. Read about the inspiration behind this project here!

Hi — I’m Arian. I’m a work-at-home freelance illustrator and mom of four boy ages 11 to 1. We live in a 116-year-old house that we’re (very) slowly renovating. My days are spent in a flurry of Legos, diapers, wallpaper bits, and art projects. When you put it that way, I’d say I’ve got a pretty good life.


I’m a night owl, so I sleep in until the baby yells for me though the baby monitor. Thankfully he’s a good sleeper. This morning I begrudgingly crawl out of bed and head downstairs around 8:30.

The baby wakes up cranky and I really want to make some coffee. So I try out something I saw on Pinterest. ‘He’ll draw on the box, it’ll entertain him for hours,” Pinterest tells me.

He draws on his face, eats the marker, and cries to get out after 45 seconds. It’s going to be “one of those days”.

I curse mornings, praise coffee, forgive Pinterest, and try to move on.

The other boys are still sleeping, it’s 9:30. Jealous.

Finally everyone’s awake. I drink coffee, the boys eat breakfast — fruit, cheese, and smoothies.

At 10:30 I finally get dressed and ready. Capsule wardrobes are where it’s at. I have about 5–7 outfits I wear on repeat each season, mostly black dresses. It’s easy and I always look nice, even if I’m not going anywhere special. I think EVERY day is a special occasion really.

It takes a village. While I work on my face makeup, my assistant makes my legs look “so handsome” and “so ready for the day”.

Then we hang out in the playroom.

Legos. Everywhere. Every day.

I like to take the kids out of the house for awhile every day. It’s good for all of us. I’m thankful Cincinnati has so many great parks and museums and coffee shops.

Today we hit up Fort Thomas Coffee for lunch because I need to hang a few more things for the group art show I put together…plus we’re out of groceries. Mine are the four framed flower illustrations above our table (shameless plug).

After lunch a sitter comes to take the boys swimming so I can go in for a meeting. I use a babysitting service (Babysitease.com) because my work schedule changes constantly. Some weeks, I’ll use a sitter once just for a couple hours. Some weeks, I’ll have up to four days of work.

Awesomely, it’s a project my husband Daniel is also working on. Not a bad view.

On the way home, I grab a few groceries. Dinner prep time is always crazy. This kid loves to climb to dangerous heights, find sharp things, and then throw them at people. Precious.

A few years ago I started reading books about French culture. It changed the way I dress, think, parent, and eat. I aspire to raise young gentlemen who are connoisseurs of good food, good drinks, and good conversation. So dinner always has fancy vibes even when the food is not fancy — candles, real dishes, cloth napkins, etc. Sometimes it’s crazy and I feel frustrated. Sometimes it’s really nice.

After dinner and dishes get cleaned up, we begin the bed time circus. Too busy to get a picture. But you can imagine. It’s like herding cats who misplaced their toothbrushes again. Daniel usually does the bedtime stories.

Once they’re down I grab a glass of wine and start cleaning up. See, a wallpaper bit.

Our go-to evening wind-down activity is watching Jimmy Fallon while Daniel gives me a foot massage. Like I said, I live a pretty good life.

Awhile back I splurged and got one of these fancy rotating face brush things as a way to treat myself to a little mini stress-reducing facial every night. Then one of my boys used it to clean up a potty training fail. I found it in the cabinet with poop all up in the bristles. I got a new one.

As mentioned, I’m a night owl. So I crawl into bed with my husband around midnight, he falls asleep, and I pull out my iPad Pro and Apple Pencil and get work done. Tonight I’m working on a new art print. Hoping to launch a new online store this fall (shameless plug)

Sneak peek.

Finally before I fall asleep I usually pull up the verse of the day in my Bible app and read it in context of the whole chapter. Or, if I’ve got something on my mind, I’ll look up answers to a specific question I have.

Tonight, it’s 1:16am and I’m wondering about this…

Fun stuff.

Well, time to call it a night! Thanks for spending the day with me!

Want more? Read “A Day in the Howard House