I Feel So LOST

I learned a long time ago not to rely on electronic gizmos to hold all my life in one convenient place.  I had a PDA type planner once upon a time and guess what?  It bit the dust one afternoon and nothing could be retrieved.  Probably did not help matters that it actually fell into a mud puddle but that is a whole other issue.

So instead of buying another PDA (they were very expensive back then and just did not have the funds to purchase another one) I just started using a small binder type planner that you could easily add pages to, take pages out and another cool feature - you could draw in the cover with markers and decorate it with stickers!  (Okay, so maybe that isn't a real good selling point BUT it was something I did to make it MINE.  I had gold and silver markers and later found some cool metallic rainbow shades and had swirls and flowers and such - everyone around KNEW that black binder with all the doodles was MINE!)

I kind of got used to writing my stuff down on paper, with ink...the "old fashioned way".  I did not have to worry about batteries.  I did not have to recharge it constantly.  I did not have to think about the batteries being low and the power being out so I could use the binder ANYWHERE and ANYTIME!

It held my life.  Addresses.  Phone numbers.  Birthdays.  Anniversaries.  What I was going to be doing eight weeks from next Friday.

Everything was in there except lesson plans and unit plans because those were all in the teacher planner that the schools provided for me at the beginning of every year.  But that little binder did hold lesson and unit ideas I wanted to try, books I wanted to look at for the classroom, lists of items I wanted to check out on my next trip to the teaching supply store, etc.

But then I left the world of having a paid job and entered motherhood.  There was no use for a planner planner in the sense that I had to schedule every moment of every day.  I was simply at home and if I wanted to go uptown to buy shoes I would simply pack up Baby and go uptown and buy shoes.  BUT I still used it to plot out certain things - gifts I wanted to make for people, baking for Christmas, renovations for the house, as well as keeping track of work hours for the employees (because Hubby did not always do it) and get togethers with friends where I would have to make sure Hubby was home rather than take Baby with me.

Well, Baby got older and became Squirt and started school (kindergarten) and I returned to work.

I started to rely more and more on my little binder once again.  Work hours...Baby sitter hours...Date nights...Grocery lists and "pick up before going home" kind of stuff...Squirt's group things that I also had to plan for (like Beaver scouts) and all that kind of stuff.

Then we started homeschooling and the little binder was no longer big enough.  I purchased a larger binder that could easily hold all my units, lessons, weekly and daily plans, curriculum outlines, books we were using, books I wanted to check out, books I wanted to order from the library, books I wanted to purchase from Amazon...AND it still held everything else about my daily life - my scheduled time to work on Hubby's books, Squirt's practices and lessons outside the home, wrap up parties for the season, Beaver plans, renovation schedule, my new gardening plan for the flower beds, web sites I wanted to check out that people have mentioned to me...EVERYTHING was once again written down on paper for me to quickly look up, and all in once convenient place in my binder.

But all that ended yesterday at approximately 8 pm.

Beavers ended at 7:30.  The other leader and I talked for a bit while we cleaned up, regrouping our thoughts about how the meeting went and discussing next week's meeting (we are focusing on Earth Day, the 3 Rs and environmental issues over the next month) as well as trying to decide on a date for our year end and what we are going to do.

We stepped outside the scout hall and set the alarm and locked up while the kids ran around.  She called her hubby to tell him they were done and we stood there talking until he arrived.  While we were talking, I set my binder down.  Not sure where.  I think I just put it on the bumper of the truck.  They left.  We left.

Binder stayed.

I got home and realized when I got in that I didn't have my binder and I was going to look to see what I needed to print off for school today.  No binder...Have no idea what pages we were working on and if I had already printed them off...

Heart starts to beat a little faster BUT I go to the truck to see if I just forgot it in the backseat.


I look inside, thinking maybe I just left it by the door when I hung up my coat.


Squirt is looking.

Hubby is looking.

I am looking.

We found nothing.

Hubby was a dear and got in the truck to retrace our steps home and he found nothing but it was already getting dark so he said he might just not have seen it.

I went back there this morning...

And I found it...

Ripped apart and papers strewn about from here to there and everything soaking wet and ink running everywhere and who knows what else.

One of the Beaver parents lives across the street from the hall and she saw us in the parking lot.  She wandered over and mentioned that there were a group of teens hanging around the hall last night around 11 pm and she actually had to call the police because they were drunk and she suspected they were also using IV drugs because there were needles there earlier that the fire department came and cleaned up after she called them.  They had spray painted a few houses in the area and broke some vehicle windows and then she noticed them at the scout hall and that is when the police arrived.

She said it was likely that they were the ones who completely ripped apart my binder - the cover was completely ripped from the hinges and paper ripped and tossed about all over.

She helped me clean up the mess but there was no way I could save anything that was written.  Not that I would have wanted to.  She had grabbed rubber gloves from her place so we could clean up the mess simply because we just aren't sure exactly what these kids had done to the stuff.  And no, it wasn't the work of a dog...there were no teeth marks or paw prints on anything and given the mud situation, there would have been muddy paw prints on something.

So today, I am replanning...


Squirt's marks that were recorded are gone - not that it really matters.  The district does not require that we hand in marks, just a simple portfolio (even pictures will do) showing that he is actually learning at home rather than simply sitting there playing playstation all day (as the superintendent says).  I had the marks more as a reminder for him - he likes being able to see "98%" or "A" written under spelling, or history, or grammar.  He likes to see "Level U Completed" after a bunch of As and Bs.  It was something I used to show him how far he's come and he loved it.

But the thing that upsets me the most is the hours of planning I had that I now have to do over again.  Because we are schooling year round this year, I had planned everything up to June, and had not just an outline for all we are going to do in July, August and September - including outlines for unit plans I want to do with him when we are camping and out in nature every day - but had already began to "flesh things out" including where we would be in science by the end of September and where we would be in Canadian history and Saskatchewan history by the end of September.

And all my addresses are gone...telephone numbers...email addresses...birthdays and anniversaries...

And today I just feel lost because when the phone rang and it was a parent calling to invite Squirt to a birthday party on the 24th, I went to reach for my binder and...

It was not there...I had to honestly think about WHERE I was going to write this down even though we have a calendar hanging up on the kitchen wall with a pen right beside it!  But I don't write those things on that calendar!  I write them in my binder!!!

So this evening, I am going uptown and I am buying a new binder and some dividers.  All day today I have been visiting Donna Young's site and printing things like crazy and planning if nothing else at least what we are going to do for the next week.

But would I change and do my plans strictly on the computer?  No.  I find I am better able to plan using pen and paper...just me...but then everyone is different.  Having lost all this stuff before when my PDA went on me, I know it isn't any more reliable than pen and paper if you don't back up your information.

I will, tho, be scanning the important stuff and storing them on a disk just in case it happens again.

On Time

Time is valuable.  My time is valuable even if there are those that say I am "JUST a stay at home mom".  I still value my time and I value Squirt's time and Hubby's time...But most of all, I value OUR time together as a family.

Here's what happened that got me thinking about time.

Friends of ours have three children, all between the ages of 7 to 15.  They are always on the go doing something, trying to balance a healthy family meal and getting two vehicles to three different places every single day of the week for some sports event or music lesson or dance recital.

In short, between public school and afterschool events these children are never home.  On weekends they are driving around the province (or to other provinces) for tournements of some kind.  And if not the children, then the parents are spending their time volunteering their time to help cut down on costs - work three bingos and they will pay for hotel costs, 40 hours in the kitchen at the rec plex and your ice fees are covered, etc etc.

Honestly, it was Squirt who said "I am glad we don't do that.  I like being at home rather than driving all over to lessons and tournements."

And that is just it.  How do the kids feel about never being at home?  Do they like being dragged along to sit in a cold arena at 4:30 in the morning for a practice or would they rather be at home?  Do they like having something going on every night of the week or do they wish they could just sit at home and watch a movie and eat popcorn?

I have seen it often, as a parent and as a former ps teacher, where parents schedule so much into their children's week but fail to ask the children what THEY want.  Personally, I think children NEED downtime as much as they need these other things.  Yeah, okay, your child loves to play baseball.  Get him on a team, sure...BUT does he also need to be on the soccer team and attend spring hockey training and music lessons at the same time OR is that what Mom and Dad want?

We asked Squirt what he wanted.  He loves bowling...He loves golf...He loves swimming.  So in the winter, he does bowling on the weekends.  In the summer we take swimming lessons at the outdoor pool.  In the spring when bowling ends, we start with the golf lessons.

The rest of his time, away from scheduled school time, is HIS time.  If he wants to take out a football and toss it around in the backyard with his friends, he is FREE to do so!  If he wants to practice his putting on the front lawn, he is free to do so because we aren't rushing off to daily swimming lessons just before baseball practice and then tomorrow we have to rush to music lessons before soccer just before rushing off to our weekly scout meeting.

I think people forget that children need the structure BUT they need the downtime to just be kids as well.

And I think parents need that as well.  Time to just sit and watch the children chasing bubbles and running through water sprinklers in the backyard while sipping lemonade.

I think we've forgotten that.

April Fools

It seems we have a little jokester in our midst.  I woke this morning to

  1. Salt in the sugar bowl
  2. Sugar in the salt shaker
  3. Toilet paper missing from the bathroom - ALL 49 rolls (just restocked because there was only one left in the cabinet)
  4. Telephone hanging upside down on the wall
  5. My Dawgs hidden away - he still hasn't told me where they are so I'm in my sock feet still and so not used to that any more
  6. Last night's knitting carefully ripped back - and he did such a wonderful job on that without a single twist, turn or lost stitch that I think someone has a new job!!! :) 
  7. My computer keyboard unplugged - noticed that one when I tried logging on the computer
  8. Mouse missing from computer desk
  9. Work folders missing from box - guess he figured if they were gone there would be no school???
  10. Clocks all set at different times - stove said 10:30, microwave said 3:45, wall clock in kitchen was at 6:23 or something like that and livingroom claimed to be 4:50
He also pulled a few pranks on Daddy this morning.
  1. Reset his alarm clock so Daddy ended up waking to his usual 6:15 alarm at 3:50 in the morning
  2. Reset the alert on the cell phone so it is programmed to go off at various times through the day with the message "April Fools!" - Hubby said it has gone off 12 times so far - twice within three minutes.  We didn't even know he knew how to set the alerts.  Heck, WE don't even know how to set the alerts!!!
  3. Hid his van keys
  4. Hid his work boots
  5. Hid his work hat
  6. Hid his work coat
  7. Hid his lunch kit AND his lunch (which had been in the fridge - Hubby found it in the freezer - no need for an ice pack today, huh?)
So I asked him when he did all these things.  He said he woke up at 3 and had to pee and figured he would do all these things.  We did not hear a thing!  He was in our room, resetting the alarm, and we heard NOTHING!

Of course, if it was a stranger the dog would have barked and alerted us but because it was Squirt, Dog just followed him around the house...

So I asked him if there was anything else he did and he answered "Yeah, one more thing."

Just then I heard a scream from outside and he said...

"After it got light out and Daddy undid the alarm, I went outside and put a bunch of my springy snakes into the mailbox so they would jump out at the mail lady."