It has not been easy. In fact, I would be ashamed to ask another human being to work as hard as Google has in the last few weeks as I planned my trip away from the kids. Actually, that’s not true; my brother, who will be in charge while we’re gone, has it much, much harder; despite the lemon pie I’m making, and the potato soup I’ve made. As long as he doesn’t decide they need haircuts while he’s here (which they do– and that could be, the ultimate practical joke) everything should be fine. Hopefully, they won’t try to make icing.
So far, this week, he will have to deal with 3 away games, 5 sports practices, getting one child to the zoo for an overnight trip…and oh yeah, the cookie dough we sold for the orchestra fundraiser arrived, and he’ll need to get that picked up and delivered before it melts. But other than that, things should be…. just fine.
While Google is great for synchronizing the family calendar, it can be an amazing personal assistant for helping you coordinate schedules, driving and maps. To get your own Google calendar, maps and everything else – just open a Google email account, and click on the calendar in the top left of your screen.
Once you have your calendar, there will be a little word in the left hand bottom of the section entitled, “MY CALENDARS.”
Below that, to the right, you will see the word “Create.”
Click that, and you will have this screen.
Now, you can name your trip – freedom, or whatever you want, you have options for time zone, and whether or not to make it public (probably not.) Then, at the bottom, you have the option to “SHARE THIS CALENDAR.” Here’s where you can put in the email addresses of your support team — everyone who needs to be kept abreast of the happenings. The minute you start entering events in this calendar, your recipient’s Google calendar will automatically be updated. (They have the option of hiding this calendar if they get tired of you.) But all the appointments you enter on this specific calendar will automatically be duplicated to your team’s calendar.
Once your done filling out the calendar’s name and recipients, go back to the top and hit “Create Calendar” and then, “Back to calendar.”
Now, click “Create Event” at the top left, and a screen will pop up to allow you to enter events.
In the “what section” fill out what’s happening, and then add as many details as you want. It only shows a line, but you can really write a paragraph here, as it will show up when you look at the “agenda.” So, here is where you want to include the entire if, ands or buts about the event. Cell phone numbers, home numbers and email addresses. Anything here will show up in the agenda. Everything will be easy to see and find.
Very important to add the when, including start and end times.
The coolest feature is the “Where.” Be sure to include the address and zip code, because Google maps will fetch the driving instructions for you. What a time saver, and lifesaver for your team.
At the bottom, make sure the calendar; “My Trip Away from The Kids” is selected.
Then hit save, and back to calendar.
Once your events are entered, email your team to let them know the calendar is ready, and have them click on “Agenda” at the top left of the calendar.
Once there, you must hit EXPAND ALL — over to the left. If you do not “expand,” the highlighted word “map” will not appear.
This is where the magic happens. All of the notes you filled into the “what” are visible (the entire paragraph), and the date and time, plus, the little word “map.” Once you click that little word, another window opens to the address map – and even shows a picture of the place. (Just click on the balloon on the map.)
Voila. I even printed a copy for my kids.
I planned for everything – meals, driving to sports events, after school play dates. The one thing I failed to do was to schedule someone to watch the kids so that I could pack!