The Birthday Box

{This is way overdue. I blame life. The package actually arrived in Korea in early June to give plenty of time for delivery by the birthday!} So, while it feels like we just sent a care package, I felt like I couldn't let Milo's first birthday go by without acknowledging it somehow. And how better to acknowledge it than with a birthday present?! Perfect, right?!

Well, let me tell you... it is not easy to buy a birthday present for a one-year-old that needs to be shipped, be cost-sensitive due to customs, not take up too much space at the foster family's home... and yet still be something special. In the end, I chose to stick to our rule of thumb for the holidays of "Something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read." I spent hours, probably days, surfing the interwebs for the perfect components. And, while it may not seem like a big first birthday present, it's meaningful to us in many ways.


1. Something He Wants - A Toy. OK, OK... so I've never met him, so I can't guarantee that he wants a toy... but what kiddo would turn away a fun new toy?! I chose the Hide N Squeak Eggs after reading many, many reviews and recommendations. I looked at many toys, but kept coming back to this. I love that it's a fun thing, yet still educational. There is a color component, a shape matching component, and more. It's small and compact which fit the above requirements, and hopefully something he plays with often. Plus, Spencer looooovvveees eggs, so it's a fun connection for the boys.

And... a sweet side story on the egg toy. I placed the order several weeks in advance, but never checked on estimated delivery date, assuming it would be here soon. When it hadn't arrived after a week, I checked and was shocked to discover that it wasn't due to get here until well into June. I checked every toy store and bookstore in the area, and even called some not in the area. This toy was nowhere to be found! I was lamenting this fact via text to my friend Jackie who offered to look around for them too. I didn't want her to go out of her way though and told her so. Well guess what showed up a few days later?! A present for Milo ... the eggs! How sweet is that?!

2. Something He Needs - A Backpack. Again... he probably doesn't need a backpack. Heck, he probably doesn't even know what a backpack is! But I saw this one and fell in love with it. This is something I really, really hope comes home with him. I think that having a little bag that he is familiar with on the plane will help immensely. Every kiddo needs an airplane bag, right?! I was also able to use this to put everything else in, so it's almost like a fancy gift bag. Score!

3. Something To Wear - A New Outfit. The outfit was actually inspired by the hat... which is really a hand-me-down from Spencer. (I believe it was from Old Navy) It won't fit Milo if we hold on to it, so I'm hoping that the foster mother loves it as much as we do and takes a photo of him in it. I found the shirt and shorts to match at Crazy 8. If you know me, you know I'm a fan of orange anything and cargo shorts are always a good bet. From what we could tell in the referral photos, the foster mother dresses Milo pretty stylishly. We hope that this preppy little outfit is well received ...

4. Something To Read - New Books. One of those books may look familiar since I used it in my last care package post. We actually decided to hold onto it until this package, since it felt like a good "gift" item. And, well, it didn't fit last time. We chose the recordable book "Under the Same Moon" by Hallmark because the story line struck a chord. Doug and I took turns recording pages, and we love how easy it was to do and how good it sounds. There is really nothing more valuable that you can send (in my opinion) than a sense of who you are. Your smell, your voice... anything.

PSA to all International APs: This is the text of the book. We love the message it sends, even if the recipient is too young to understand. While there is a little more "sap" and "love" than I usually like... I think here it's necessary. (And yes, it makes me teary... but we managed to record it with no sobs!)

I see the moon and the moon sees me, and the moon sees somebody I'd like to see. Please let the light that shines on me shine on the ones I love.

I see the stars twinkle soft and bright, winking a promise to me tonight: they'll keep watch while you sleep tight and smile on you with love.

I see the clouds drifting softly by as they carry these wishes across the sky. I hope they bring sweet dreams tonight to the precious ones I love.

I hear the wind as it moves through the trees, crossing the distance between you and me. It slips in your window, soft as can be, and tucks you in with love.

I hear the crickets and the frog-song rise as their sleepy serenade fills the moonlit skies. It drifts all around as you close your eyes and sings to you with love.

I hear an owl hoot "who who who?" asking who I love and who loves me, too. I smile as I answer, "It's you, you, you," you are the one I love.

Over the mountains and over the sea, together with you I wish I could be. Please let the light that shines on me shine on the  ones I love.

You'll see I also have an image of "Goodnight Moon" up there. That happens to be one of Spencer's favorites and the one he chose at the store to include. We also included a little video of him "reading" the book to Milo:


You'll notice that he's a bit "off" in accuracy, but I love how the video captures a little of his personality. As many APs who have gone before us can tell you, the siblings play a huge role in comforting the new child through the transition. So even more important than getting a sense of us, is getting a sense of Spencer. And even more important than all that is giving Spencer the opportunity to play a big role in this part of the process. This wait is definitely hardest on him, and any way we can help him feel involved and important is a win in my book. (No pun intended!)

5. Just Because - A Homemade Rattle. There's really no reason for this, other than the fact that I was whipping some of these up for the new babies in our world and I thought, "Why Not?" So while he may be too old for it, it's still a little bit of love in the box. I used yarn that I had left over from a blanket I made Spencer... just another way the boys connect even half a world away.

Since I'm a designer by trade (and a little over-the-top to boot) I drew an illustration of a baby dragon (since Milo was born in the year of the dragon) and whipped up some gift tags and a birthday card. (If that doesn't say "Happy Birthday" just don't tell me!) I also created some coordinating tags for the hostess gifts for the foster family and the social worker. (This time I included coffee and vitamins, per a recommendation of a fellow hellobee gal.) I packed everything into the backpack except for the big book, then I added ribbons and tags, and loaded it all into the shipping box. I realized I had a little extra room to fill. While I could have used packing peanuts, I decided instead to use some nautical rompers and a coordinating sun hat that I had bought on a whim. Why use peanuts when you can use cute baby clothes instead, right?! Of course, we blew in some kisses and some birthday wishes... then sealed it up and shipped it off.

So there you have it! Definitely not how we would have celebrated if Milo were here with us, but hopefully the package illustrates how much he is loved and thought of over here. We probably won't send anything else until some friends travel and can hand carry packages. That will be hard, but we don't want to burden the foster mother either!

{All boxed up and ready to go!}