Traveling without Kids: Packing their bags

Luggage

Flickr Photo by Andrew Stawarz

Sometimes couples just need to go away for the weekend without the kids. And there maybe times when couples need to leave for a longer period of time for business. It’s during those times that the Extended Family Tree comes in quite handy.

My friend and her husband had to leave the country for meetings a few weeks ago. I thought she did a great job preparing her child and us for that week, so I asked her if I could share some of the things she did.

So, here is the list:

1. Contact information: This is a given that you’d leave your contact information, but still want to note it because it can be the one thing we forget to give the caregivers. You should have any phone numbers and email addresses that you can be reached at. Also, skype is a great cheap way to communicate with the caregivers. Or setting up a “skype date” with your child mid-week to see how they are doing would be fun for all.

2. Medicine: Another given, but still worth mentioning. Vitamins and any other medicine that your child needs to take should be labeled with clear directions. You can even divide it up into days by using those daily tablet holders.

4. ID card and passport: This is something none of us like/want to think about, but anything can happen in the world and we need to have our passports ready and easily available in case we need to leave the country immediately. This is true for your child as well. Leave their passports with the caregivers, so if there should be an emergency, they have all their important identification records with them. Also, make sure you leave any insurance cards or other health information like their pediatrician’s name and number just in case of an emergency.

5. Extra money: This may not be necessary, but it is a nice gesture to help with any extra costs that may come up during that week.

6. Favorite foods: Make some cookies or muffins anything that is a comfort food to your child. Take it to the caregivers so that your child has food he is familiar with, something that speaks of home and you and that will bring comfort him while you are away. This is also really helpful if your child tends to be a picky eater.

7. Little presents: Wrap small packages with little notes for your child to open each morning he/she wakes up. This package can be small treats, erasers, really anything that you would like to give. This makes the time go quicker for those that do not like to be away from you AND it makes it more fun for those that enjoy the sleepovers.

Okay, your turn. Have you ever had to leave your kids with friends? Have you been the caregivers? Any other ideas or thoughts from your experience?  Please comment below.

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Family Trees and Living Overseas

Most everyone keeps track of their family tree, or at least they know the relatives on the branches near their own. When we need help with the kids or a listening ear, we push that speed dial number, which is usually the grandparents or the aunts/uncles. Having lived overseas for sometime now, our “family tree” has some branches that have been grafted into the trunk. These are people that have become our adopted family. They are people who have become the “aunts and uncles” to our kids. People that, no matter what, keep in touch even after they (or us) have left the country.

1. They help you move.

2. They bring you meals when your kids are sick (or when your sick).

3. They grab a coffee and sit at your table and listen to you. You sit at their table with coffee and listen to them.

4. They celebrate birthdays with you.

5. They celebrate holidays with you.

6. They watch your kids for you while you and the hubby go away.

I’ve been thinking about this for reasons #5 and #6.

My friends had to attend a conference for a week in a different country. They asked us to watch one of their sons. She needed her adopted family and I was glad to be her “sister”. She has helped me out countless times with my kiddos. We just do that.

And Thanksgiving is coming up. In two days. It’s been over 12 years now since I’ve celebrated Thanksgiving with my family back in the US. For my kids…never. Ouch, that was hard to type.  We are celebrating, though, with friends ~ adopted family.

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for family.

Family that is in the US.

Family in Germany.

Adopted family all over the world, and especially those that are put in our path at this season of our life.

What are you thankful for? Do you have adopted family where you live?