Keep the questions coming, ladies!! And please don't be shy to share your experiences and thoughts in the comments. You don't have to be an expert - just share what you've done and why it worked (or didn't work) for you!

Question:

How do you all pack for a 3-year stay overseas? Do you pack 3 years worth of stuff for your kids?? How do you even predict what sizes they will be, etc? I would just love to hear how others do this. Any tips at all are welcome...

My Experience:

I don't have a lot of experience in this area, as I've only done it once. But I do remember well the hours I spent agonizing over each packing decision. I was a brand new mom with a three-month-old baby. I didn't even know what kind of things my baby would need in the next few months, let alone how to pack for the three-year-old he would be before our return to the States! It was completely overwhelming to me.

I did not pack clothing for the whole three years. I packed clothes up to size 18month and figured I could get the rest somehow. :-) Luckily for me, my firstborn was a little guy and wore those clothes until he was almost 2, so I had lots of time to have more sent over from the States and also shop for clothes in our local markets. My second son (who was much easier because I already had all the clothes I needed!) was wearing 18mo by the time he was 10 months old, so that would have been a different story if he'd been the first! In our situation, we were able to get some things from the States at least once a year, and we also had used clothing available very cheaply locally, so it wasn't a problem at all that I didn't bring 3-years'-worth of clothing. I also received some hand-me-downs from other missionary moms, which was a huge blessing!

What I wish I had done differently is plan ahead for toys, books, and educational activities. For some reason in all the other practical worries, toys just weren't even a blip on my radar screen. I guess I thought my boys could grow up happily playing with nothing but sticks and dirt? :-) I wish now that I had thought ahead to how to entertain my little ones as they grew. Obviously a bunch of expensive, battery-operated stuff probably won't be practical for moving overseas! But I do wish I'd brought some practical toys that could grow with my children and teach coordination, imagination, etc. Plus some good children's books, and a few puzzles and games!

I haven't reached the homeschooling stage yet, but that is the next hurdle for me. How do I plan homeschool curriculum for three whole years in advance? But maybe that's a topic for another post!

Let's hear from our readers! How did you know what to pack? What do you wish you'd brought - or are glad you did bring? Please share tips and advice!!

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I need your help! I am writing a post on planning for childbirth overseas, in response to a reader question. However, my only experience is giving birth in my host country. I would like the input of a reader who has traveled back to her home country or to a different, more-developed country to give birth. If you are willing to let me interview you for the article please send me an email!

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