Family Planning

61lc5omlb2l_aa240__2Don't you love a new calendar, all fresh and clean and ready to take on the adventures that await in a brand new year? Last year, I used a MomAgenda. I was disappointed with the some of the features (mostly offensive quotes that jumped out at me and made me sorry I paid for the privilege of reading them again and again for a week). But I did love the column format of the MomAgenda, even if the columns close to the binding were a bit difficult to use. It was all bound into a book--sometimes a pro, sometimes a con. In September, I started using Google Calendar. I'm still using it, though not as regularly as I should. The nice thing about Google Calendar (well, one of the nice things) is that as soon as I get an email from a coach or a teammate about a practice or event, I can add it directly. No searching for the planner which might be in my diaper bag or might be in the kitchen. The bad thing about Google Calendar? It's not in my diaper bag or the kitchen. The good thing about Google Calendar? I can share the calendar with my husband and with friends, too (a huge blessing when I was tweaking learning schedules). I created a calendar for each child's school plans, a liturgical year calendar, an appointment and activity calendar, a calendar for household chores. I was a calendar-crazed mama! These are printable, though not nearly as nice to print as the calendars one can create on a Mac. Sigh. All that work and I ended up with calendar envy.I'm still tweaking my Google calendars and hoping the geniuses at Google will figure out way to take all the extraneous junk out of the printable versions. Or that I get a Mac for my birthday.

51y9flhqfrl_ss400_ In the meantime, I miss my kitchen refrigerator at-a-glance-where-is-everybody calendar. I wanted something pretty and warm that celebrated the season in a family's life. It's no secret I'm a huge fan of Susan Branch. This year, I'm going to use The All for One and One for All 2008 Family Planner. Susan says that her greatest claim to fame was being the oldest of eight children. This is a family -friendly calendar with columns like the MomAgenda. (There are only five columns, though, which means I might need two.) Instead of politically charged demoralizing quotes there are delightful illustrations and a sprinkling of happy thoughts. Here's an interesting little tidbit: my husband sat and flipped through the entire thing and read all the notes and such. He even noticed all the eye-candy. This is a man who's most recent calendar is dated 1997. And it's not written in at all. At least he looked at this one:-). I think this one will end up duplicating the online appointments and activities calendar but it will stay put on the fridge for reference. The Google one will catch all the updates and it will be printed when necessary for Dad.I'll continue to rely on checking in with Catholic Culture daily to plan ahead and to immerse myself in the day of the Church. As I do that, I note what I want to remember on the Google Calendar for the liturgical year. Eventually, Google will work out its print issues and won't I have a great printable resource for my Faith Home Companion notebook?
I have ceased searching for the perfect calendar for my organizing purposes. Very few (no?) planner people are planning for ten people in a household. Then again, I once talked to Sean Covey about his planners and he has a whole gaggle of kids. We agreed then that the Simplicity pages worked best for large household management.I haven't yet tried Franklin Covey electronic planning. Maybe that would be the solution...Probably not. I have trouble seeing past the whole corporate mentality. I'm organizing and inspiring a family, not running a business. There's a huge difference and that difference really needs to be reflected from the get go. If our planning has a purpose, it has to be a family purpose.
Really, there is no perfect planner. I know that. The key to making all this planning and preparing work is discipline. I need to decide on a system and then work the system.I can tweak a bit as we go and read about other ideas, but in the end, what matters most is that I am faithful enough to stick with it. No planning system works if it's abandoned the third week of January for nothing, or even for the next thing to come along. I can't establish rhythm if I'm twisting in the wind, whether I'm looking for that rhythm in my household management, my school plans, or my prayer life.
The waning days of December are so peaceful. Happy children are engrossed in new toys and books. There is little pressing in the way of obligations. We have a little respite from the regular lesson schedule. it's a great time to build a fire and curl up under a Christmas comforter and ponder how to make it all work in the new year. So, I think I'll do that today. More later. Much more.:-)