We are now down to only 10 days until we are boarding a plane for Ethiopia. Since receiving our travel dates, it seems like time has just flown by. The to-do list is becoming shorter by the day as we are busy crossing things off little by little. With the exception of a few items, the shopping is complete!
We've also completed quite a few projects around the house... specifically involving the two kids' rooms and the play room. I bought a new organizational shelf with tubs that is working perfectly in the play room to hold all of those small, loose toys that have cluttered my house for the past year. Eli thoroughly enjoyed "assigning" specific types of toys (ie - animals, transformers, balls, play food, potato heads, trains) to the different colored tubs, and he has actually been doing a great job of keeping everything organized :) This pic gives you the idea... although a couple of the bins are participating in play time at the moment...
I think he takes after me in that neither of us are necessarily "neat freaks" (I was more so before having a kid, but now playing with my kiddo takes precedence over cleaning everything up all the time), but we both like to put systems in place and bring organization to life. You might find my counters to be dirty during the day, but open a cupboard or my pantry and you'll see what "organized" truly means. :)
We've also rearranged the placement of toys within our house. We decided that all toys will be "everybody's toys," with the exception of very special items like blankets and special stuffed animals. There will be obvious girl and boy toys, but everything at this point is fair game for any child to play with. Same goes for books! So, we moved the bookshelf out of Eli's room and put it in the play room, along with all of the random stuffed animals collected over the last few years. We actually had to purchase TWO hammocks to have room for all of those stuffed animals!
We also made room in the play room for a few "new" girlie toys passed on to us by some lovely friends who have three little girls. Micah even added an IKEA Leaf Canopy to each child's room... we mainly had this idea for Mikayla's room to go with the flowers, but we had our first experience with having kids so close in age and were quickly informed by Eli that he needed one too. Well, what the heck, leaf canopies for all!
I am now preparing to do the bulk of our packing. I'm not one to pack much in advance of trips, because I always pack things that I need and have to dig them out... so I've been putting it off. But, the other night I did manage to pick out and pack all of Mikayla's stuff. I feel like I'm taking a lot of clothing for her, but mainly it's because we aren't exactly sure what will fit. So, a few outfits are very similar just different sizes. Same with shoes! Now all that's left is... well... everything else. I also have to pack up Eli to go to Grandma's house for 10 days, and Petey (our beagle) to go to his pet-sitter's house! I am planning to conquer all of this packing next weekend, and hopefully be completely finished by the end of the day next Monday. I would love to be able to spend Tuesday hanging out with Eli and just having fun, before we drop him off at Grandma & Grandpa's that evening.
In addition to all the personal stuff, I'm also trying to wrap things up at work in preparation for my maternity leave. My last day in the office will be Thursday of this week. I then have to attend a final job-related workshop on Friday morning before heading home to participate with Micah in our travel conference call with Holt. Yay for Travel Group 24!!
Oh, one other random thing that is happening in the midst of preparing to travel is that we are changing social workers. Our SW is not through Holt, it is through our local agency who did our home study. The local agency is also responsible for our post-placement visits and follow-up reports, so our contact with our social worker is just about to become very involved as she helps us navigate our transition once we're home. Without going into a ton of details, this change needed to occur. It probably needed to occur back when our home study was being completed, but by the time we were educated enough in the process to realize that, things were pretty much done. I somewhat had a panic attack though, now that we're moving toward post-placement, and knew that I needed to say something before we traveled. It was tough, but if anything, I have an even higher view of our home study agency due to the way they handled it, and am excited to begin working with our new SW very soon. We will be chatting with her this week so we can all be caught up to speed prior to traveling.
So is that enough for you? Figured I better blurt it all out in this post, since the next post will likely be another week away... hopefully showing pictures of PACKED luggage :)