Friday, February 25, 2011

Days Prior to Trip One

Surprisingly, I was disciplined enough to write down our experiences while we were in Ethiopia and I plan to share most of them on our blog soon. Before I do that, I want to share what the days were like before we left. Please remember much of what I write is for my benefit, to help me remember - understandably, some of this may bore you.

My sweet friend 'B' helped me pack up all of our donations in my basement the week before we left, so the 4 rubbermaid totes were ready to go. I am so thankful she offered to help me pack these babies up because she is a decisive one and I am not. She knew what to put where so it only took about 2 hours. If I had done it on my own, I'd have been in the basement all night long! She also bought us some pretty neon colored zip ties to secure that the totes would not open in transit and then suggested we color code them by order of priority- so smart she is. I got them labeled so in case they wouldn't make it to the hotel when we did, they might get to Hannah's Hope eventually. We used the travel space bags- I would highly recommend them for clothing and diapers. I also had fun using the new drill my hubby got for Christmas or his birthday last year. It rarely makes it out of it's case, but I gained a little confidence working with plastic totes rather than a nice piece of wood or my walls!

We were able to take 3 of the 4 totes with us and one large suitcase, so the 4th tote of donations will go with us on the next trip. I had a few donations left that didn't get "toted" the first time around, so they will get packed up to go along on trip two, which, BTW, might be as early as TWO WEEKS from Monday!! I can't believe it could happen that fast but some of the families that were on their second trip while were only had 3 weeks between trips. CRAZY, but so exciting!

I was not completely packed on the morning we left, although everything was pretty much ready to go. The kids wanted us to have lunch with them, so at 11:00 we ran a few errands and went to school to join them for lunch- their teachers let us all sit together at the first grade table. It was difficult to say goodbye, but they all did well. We shed some serious tears after getting in the truck to leave, but the kids were troopers.

***This is where I would have inserted a picture of us, had I not forgot my camera at home :(***

To help easy the pain of our absence, I had purchased some fun things for the kids to open each day; on the first day, they opened a book with a recording of our voices reading the story. A new friend I met at a local grocery store the week before (who had also adopted from Ethiopia through AGCI) bought this book for us as a gift to either take to ET to leave for Amani, or at home with the kids. I was torn on what to do, but decided to leave our voices home for P, A and A just in case something would happen to us. On the second day they each opened a fancily wrapped Tervis Tumbler, each with their own specially chosen design (thanks Aunite Linda and Amy for providing these at 'You're Special' :) Payton- a big Packer 'G', Ava - a brightly colored 'Peace Sign', and Alaina- a box of chocolates with 'Choc-a-holic' written on it --- so fitting for each of them. On day three, I had to come up with something less costly, so my friend 'G' suggested the perfect thing- straws with chocolate flavoring in them to use in their new cups- what genius invented that?!? On day four I think we went with gum - 3 packs for each kid and a sweet note. Imagine my surprise when Alaina told me today that she had hers gone in 3 days! That girl has little to no self-control when it comes to gum. Day 5 I decided to get something different for each kid. Payton got a Super Bowl edition of a sports magazine featuring our Green Bay Packers, Ava - some neat magnetic book marks and Alaina a necklace beading kit in a teacup. Day 6 was a gift cert to Dairy Queen for our friends who watched the kids (thanks Lance and Korena!!!) to take our three and their three down for a treat- after the massive snowstorm that had hit two days before and gave the kids their first snow day of the school year. And on the last day, I had run out of ideas, so candy it was. I know I have put myself in a position now that whenever we go away, I must do this for each trip, so any suggestions are welcomed.

The kids got out early the day before, one of their early-release days, so we had a chance to pack up their clothes, two separate bags for each place they stayed. They were able to stay home with Auntie Kara on Thursday night, to Auntie Kara and Uncle Brian's Friday and Saturday nights and our sweet neighbor's and friends, the next 3 nights. They did really well and kept busy with activities, playing in the snow or going to school, so not a lot of down time.

We are so grateful to have had many friends offer to help us out with the kids, we are truly blessed with awesome family and friends!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for writing this...since I missed it all!!