Thursday, January 17, 2008

Getting Organized with a To-do List

Song of the day: "The Circle of Life" from the Disney Film, The Lion King
Why? Because it has the phrase "there's more to do than can ever be done."

The song is also appropriate because I'm still in the midst of planning a fifth birthday party and the song I just mentioned accompanied the scene in the film where Simba was born and shown to the rest of the kingdom. The scene is striking it part because it symbolizes how significant the birth of a young one (lion, human or otherwise) is to parents and the world in general. The signifance of one's birth is why we celebrate birthdays. While older adults are sometimes happy to let one pass without acknowlegement, children love being honored.

However, making sure a child feels honored is hard work--especially when life is really busy. Does anyone else out there feel like they have trouble keeping up with life in general? That is making sure family needs are met, the home is cleaned, friends feel remembered, all necessary appointments made and kept (vet, dentist, doctor, ect.), and that all community service projects are completed.

I have a few old (almost ancient at this point) report cards from my elementary school days which indicate that my organizational skills needed much improvement. Since then I've improved in that area because it's much harder to keep up with life without any organizational skills.

Fortunately, I've picked up a few in that department, although I still have a ways to go. One skill that comes in handy is writing a to-do list. I only do this when I'm either feeling like I'm making slow progress on various projects or when I'm overwhelmed. Lately, I've been overwhelmed as I "recover" from the holidays.

It doesn't help that I have a few January birthdays to remember. I adore the January birthday people (son, dad, stepmom, niece), but it's hard to get cards out in time and plan a celebration for my youngest one two weeks after Christmas. (At least I made my dad's birthday phone calls on time, but my his card with an unaddressed, unstamped envelope is still sitting on the kitchen counter.)

Yesterday, I lost some time because I became a volunteer sub for one of my son's preschool teachers. It was just a 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. shift. It was an easy and enjoyable job. I just love little kids. All you have to do is pay lots of attention to them, be firm but gentle when necessary, and make sure safety rules are followed. Being in the classroom also gave me the chance to see how my birthday boy was honored at school and to help him pass out the strawberry-flavored cupcakes we made the night before. I would have missed a couple of things otherwise.

We had a small family celebration yesterday evening. The highlights were going to a local restaurant for dinner and coming home for dessert. We put a candle in one of the three cupcakes served (my husband doesn't have a sweet tooth) and had soy ice cream. We sang the birthday song and my oldest son delighted us by strumming along on his new ukulele. He might have autism, but he does love birthdays and singing.

Since, I missed my usual two and half hours to run errands and clean house yesterday, I find that a writing a to-do list is a must do. Now that I went through a early morning routine and dropped off my oldest at school, I must write one up for today. Here is what I'll do after publishing this post and checking email:

1. Shower, attempt to have a decent hair day and have breakfast.
2. Wash up breakfast dishes, make my bed, do laundry and clean up house as much as possible.
3. Leave for my follow-up doctor's appointment at 11:20
4. Prepare lunch for five year old and self
5. Finish putting Christmas stuff away, sort toys, clean some more.
6. Pick up oldest son from school around 3:30
7. Make sure the guys have a decent dinner
8. Prepare for and go to April autism awareness event planning meeting at 5:30 on CMU's campus.
9. Come home, relax, and make sure medicines are given and two books are read to the boys before 9 p.m.
10. Think about games for Saturday's birthday party for five year old. He's having four or five little friends over to celebrate. This is the first time celebrated with his friends. He made the request and I couldn't help but grant it.

With any luck, I'll complete most or all of the list. I really hope that no emergencies come up.

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