A few weeks ago, someone in my hypotonia group said she’d taken her child to 91 doctor/therapy appointments in 2016. It got a bunch of us wondering how many times we’d done the same for our own kids.
My number was 70. Over 50 of those were for L.
It made me realize how important organization is when you have kids – especially when one has more needs than a “typical” child. There were weeks we had multiple doctor appointments plus a therapy visit. There were appointments Mr Boots needed to be present for. In between those crazy weeks was school, swim lessons, class parties, and family visits. Oh, and the stuff Mr Boots and I did that didn’t involve kids.
The family organization system I put in place last year worked (though I still struggle with ensuring Mr Boots actually reads the alerts and texts I send him). My method isn’t changing this year, but what I’m using to keep us on track (and on time!) is a bit.
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I’m (still) not great at remembering to keep my phone calendar up to date, but it’s usually all I have when I’m scheduling appointments at doctor’s offices. When your child has respiratory issues, you often find yourselves going back a few times for follow ups. It’s also all I have when I drop my kids off a preschool and see the sign-up sheet for their class parties.
I do make sure I put in events I know well ahead of time, such as Mr Boots’ company holidays and school breaks. I use Google Calendar because I can share important appointments with Mr Boots. When I get home I can refer to my phone to add appointments to my wall calendar and planner.
Plum Paper Planner
I admire people who can get by with just their phone. Personally, I need to see things written down. Last year I used a Happy Planner and I…wasn’t 100% happy with it. It turns out, what I didn’t like was the disc-bound system. It’s great if you want to add or take out sections, but once I had mine set up the way I wanted, I struggled with keeping discs in place. I missed having a spiral bound book I could feel confident shoving in my purse if needed.
I decided to switch it up and go with a spiral-bound Plum Paper planner this year because they offer a blog planner add-on.
I chose the 7×9″ ME Planner because the week is divided into seven sections you can designate for family members – or whatever you want. I was going to have them filled out with each family member, APPOINTMENTS, FITNESS, and MEALS, but decided against it. I left them blank and I’m glad I did! I realized it would be handy to add my Climb Out of the Darkness stuff to the weekly layout. So, for now, I’ll be filling this out with: APPOINTMENTS, TO-DO, BLOG, BLOG, CLIMB, FITNESS, MEALS. When the Climb is over I can designate the extra spot to something else.
I added a budget and blog planner. I cannot wait to see how the blog planner works out for me. So far, it’s been awesome having that in the same place. It’s easy to flip back and forth within one book. I also added Note, Checklist and To-Do pages.
My only regret so far is not going with the 8.5×11 planner. I basically write To-Do lists for the week and the spaces in the 7×9 are a little small for my preference. If I end up loving everything else about it, I’ll probably order the bigger ME Planner for next year.
Just like last year, I walked into AC Moore with a 50% off coupon and purchased one of their wall calendars. I decided on a Your Colorful World calendar and got it for just over $1 with my coupon. It definitely makes me feel better after spending $45 on a planner!
I keep this on our fridge so everyone can see it. Everyone in the family has their own color and their appointments/schedules are written in those colors so I can easily see what they have going on each month. Family activities, visits from friends/family, and anniversaries/birthdays also have their own color.
In spring 2016, Happy Planner introduced some new planners to the market. I didn’t have the intention of buying one, but the Be Happy Be Bright Be You planner (affiliate) has has fun holidays listed. The special days like National Candy Cane Day and National Apple Day. I caved. Originally, I was going to use this as my blogging planner, but then decided I wanted a journal to write down the little things about the day or something I was grateful for. Since I didn’t like the disc-bound system, I took it to Office Max and they spiral bound it for about $5. It’s an 18 month planner, so I started journaling our mundane days back in June and it’ll keep me through 2017.
This is also my creative outlet. I had bought my Happy Planner with the intention of getting creative with my weekly layouts. What I learned halfway through the year is that I am a more functional planner. Once I started my journal, I stopped trying to decorate my everyday planner with washi and stickers and began doing it in the journal instead.
Of course, I can’t plan without pens!
My favorite at the moment is a Pilot G-2 (affiliate). I keep this with my Plum Paper Planner, along with a pencil so I can pencil in appointments in the monthly calendars. When they happen I go over it in ink.
I recently discovered the awesomeness of InkJoy Gel pens (affiliate). I use these in my journal. My in-laws gifted me with a colored set so I can’t wait to get creative with them!
Ultra Fine Point Sharpies (affiliate) are kept in a box by the wall calendar along with white out tape in case I make a mistake or an appointment is changed (which has happens a lot since L gets sick often). I’ve learned its easier to see what’s going on when I don’t have a bunch of appointments crossed out.
How do you keep your family organized? Do you prefer keeping track of appointments on paper or electronically?
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