Things in my head . . .

If you take your 3-year-old to WalMart or a parent’s night for sports or school, bring something to entertain them.  This is not brain surgery!!!  You know they’re tired. They might be hungry too – depending if you caught dinner or not.  Screaming at them to shut the “f” up is not doing you or him/her any favors.  
Note to self:  As a pale, pale white woman who likes to walk in the evenings? Wearing a light pink t-shirt and pale pink shorts?  Nope. From far away, in the dusk, you look nekkid.  It scares and surprises drivers and could ultimately be harmful to you. If you must wear all pale pink, skip walking the just-shaved dog.
Don’t be jealous and/or don’t think I have some secret to being organized.  I don’t. For us, it’s the “master calendar.” That sounds scary, but it’s not.  It evolved from the baby calendars we had (you know, when the kids were babies) and that are full for the first four months and then blank (and, if you’re Andy, are simply non-existent).  
Each year I get a big ugly flip calendar from the office supply place.  I fill in the public school schedule, birthdays, anniversaries and anything like that.  I use colored sharpies, because it’s the only use I have for them and they’re pretty.  From there, I usually go one or two months at a time and write in standing commitments (doctors, Scouts, church, whatever). Can you tell I was painting in June? LOL
Next, at the beginning of each month, I write in a suggestion for dinner each night of the month.  (I say “suggestion” because I do better when I know first thing in the morning what is for dinner. If I don’t know this, it’s likely we’ll have oatmeal for dinner.  I’m just not that creative around 4-5-6 pm. That said, I often change the plan, but I feel better at least having a plan!  That’s a weak spot for me – your weak spot might be different, but you get the idea.) This is not that daunting – Saturday is leftovers, Sunday Mike cooks.  I try to time late evenings (sports, scouts, etc) with crockpot meals or cold meals. Usually I make Tuesday or Thursday some kind of pasta night and the kids are welcome to have friends for dinner because that’s easy to stretch. I work with what I have in the pantry and make a list each week of what we’re missing. 
Now, my kids are OLD.  Each week, they write in their work schedules, their school schedules and anything firm (like a concert) that they are committed to doing. If Danny (away at college) needs anything, he knows to call and ask me to put it on the calendar (strangely, this usually involves money, but at least he left home knowing how the system works.)  
If it’s not written on the calendar, odds are good they will be riding a bike to work or missing something.  Same with Mike.  I’m not his mom.  But, what he does affects us all.  Over the years, he’s gotten pretty good about using the calendar for things like scout leader meetings and sports commitments. It also saves my sanity a bit because Mike is not constantly asking me where everyone is or what’s going on.  He reads it while he’s looking for a snack.
The calendar is attached to our fridge with two strong magnets.  Markers, pencils and pens are always around. If someone who lives here is eating, they know what’s on the calendar.  They know what’s “likely” for dinner.  They can plan accordingly.  
But, really, it’s NOT that hard.  Start simple and let it evolve into what works for you.  But, please don’t shrug at me and say, “I could never be that organized.”  It really doesn’t matter if you’re organized, this is a step.  It really doesn’t matter if your kids or your spouse are at all interested in the calendar – the more it becomes a VISIBLE DAILY part of your life (you have to stick to it) the more it becomes part of theirs. And, with kids (say 9 +, they learn pretty quick that if it’s not on the calendar, it doesn’t happen – I’ve only had to do this once it was awful, but worth it.) 
Seamless??? No.  But, it’s something to work with when you’re dealing with multiple people.  If you work outside the home, you might have to travel with a work calendar a few nights a week to match it up with the home calendar.  

And, one final random observation . . . even when you tell a kid that if he keeps sucking that cup up to his face he’s going to have giant hickies on his chin, he’ll ignore you.  And you’ll be forced to walk around with a kid with giant hickies on his chin.  ::::sigh::::: (x’s 4 here – guess I can check that off the list.) I googled for a picture, please don’t do this.  It’s not pretty and people are really weird.

2 thoughts on “Things in my head . . .

  1. I like it! We use a calendar that is pretty big that my mom gives me for Christmas every year, from Current. Not quite as big as yours, but I only have two kids! And dinner planning Is a life saver. I make up a schedule of dinners once a month, before I do the Big grocery shopping trip. Without the schedule we would eat spaghetti with jarred sauce and No meatballs every single night. What I Don't see here is how you find time to teach your kids, read books, And complete amazing redecorating projects!

  2. Ahhh, clearly you are sleeping far too much, Melora! 😉 Actually, so much of the calendar and school stuff is routine (down to the fourth kid for school and after 22 years of marriage how many variations on dinner are there?) that it doesn't take much work anymore. The rest of it – it's easier to do projects, especially big ones, with no little kids around to “help.”

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