Month Five Wrap-Up

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope your 2011 was great and that your 2012 will be even better!  We wrapped up 2011 in a very exciting way with respect to our “teaching to give” project.  Today we received a hand written letter from the soldier in Afghanistan, Suannette, who we sent a care package to back in September!  (You can check out that project – project No. 8 – here.)  I included our address and a letter when we sent the care package, and I hoped we would hear from her.  But, the website specifically says to not expect a response.  I was so excited when we got one!  Here is the letter (with identifying information cut out)…

Since you probably can’t read the letter, I want to share with you what it says…

“Dear Draper Family,

First of all, I would like to tell you all I didn’t forget about you all.  Your package made my day when I received it and I would definitely like to thank Abby for the goldfish (they are my favorite snack, too).  It made me so happy and it reminded me of back home.  I have been looking into your project and it is so interesting.  I will be sending you a picture of my Marines that I work with.  They want to thank you as well.  They got to snack on some of the stuff you gave me.  Your motivation is an inspiration to all of us here.  It’s people like you that make us appreciate the reason why we are here.  We are lucky to come home to people like you.  Our crew sends their best wishes to you.

We have made many accomplishments while being out here.  We are in charge of keeping the aircraft in the air and in case the grunts or soldiers need help.  We have accomplished many successful missions and saved lots of lives.

We will be leaving in February but another group of Marines will be taking over.  The fight never stops and your support keeps us going.  Thank you for your package and for just being you.  You and your family are truly amazing.

My e-mail is…..       Sincerely,  CPL Rios, Suannette”

It just made my day to receive this letter!  It took her a while to remember the care package since it was several months ago.  But, I do think she eventually got it.  I will definitely send Suannette an e-mail to her know we got the letter!

We also did five projects in December.  We started by donating hats and gloves for the mitten tree at the kids’ preschool.   Next, we adopted two angels from the Salvation Army Angel Tree.  This is one of my favorite projects every year!  We always adopt angels that are comparable ages and genders to our kids. So, we adopted a four-year old girl and a two-year old boy.  The kids had a great time shopping!

Our third project for the month was to make Christmas gifts for my kids’ preschool teachers.  Originally, we planned to make cut out sugar cookies, but they were a dismal failure (appearance wise, not taste wise).  So, we had to eat those ourselves and make caramel corn for the teachers instead.  The teachers all loved it – the stuff is addictive!

Fourth, we went through all of the kids’ toys and donated three big boxes of toys to Family Gateway, the local homeless shelter for families with children.  Family Gateway has been the beneficiary of several of our projects, and we certainly intend to keep donating to them.    Finally, we delivered cookies to the new neighbors who moved in down the street.  Abby loved the idea so much that we ended up taking cookies to a few other neighbors, as well.  I think she would have delivered cookies to everyone on the street if we’d had enough.  Maybe next year!

Abby just gave me the perfect way to finish up my monthly wrap-up.  She came over to ask me what I was doing, and I told her I was writing about our projects.  She said, “Mom, can we please do some more projects?”  I said absolutely!  She wanted to know what we could do next, and I told her we would think about it and try to come up with some good ideas tomorrow.   On that note, we end our fifth month and look forward to much more giving in 2012!

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