Saturday, July 12, 2008

Oh No! Mom Has Her Suitcases Out Again

I've been around here long enough to know that something is going on when Mom gets her suitcases out and starts packing them. Yes, Mom is leaving me AGAIN for another big trip. I really don't like it when Mom leaves and I always protest. But last night, Mom let me help her pack. And that's when she told me where she was going (and why).

Mom taking a vacation from work to go to a place called Kosovo (part of the Former Yugoslavia in Europe). She is going with 36 children and adults from our area as part of an exchange program between the Muscatine Children's and Youth Choirs and the Shropshire Music Foundation.

If you know my Mom....this doesn't sound like the ideal vacation place. But Mom assures me this is a great vacation for her. Well I wasn't convinced and I thumped at her. So she told me the whole story. Now I am happy she is going.

Mom says this all started after she and her boss did a radio program in 2002 about a woman named Liz Shropshire. Liz spent her life savings to start a music therapy program for children affected by the 1999 war in Kosovo. Mom's radio story won several national journalism awards and the directors of the Muscatine Children's and Youth Choirs decided to start and exchange program. The people in Muscatine raised enough money to bring 12 Kosovar youth to Muscatine in 2004 for two weeks. In 2005, Mom and 31 other youth and adults from our town spent two weeks in Kosovo (in the town where Liz has her program). They held eye and medical clinics, conducted art and craft classes and much more for youth affected by the war. The youth choirs also sang together all over Kosovo. In 2006, 12 more Kosovar youth came to Iowa for two weeks. Now it is Muscatine 's turn to go to Kosovo.

Once Mom explained this to me, I understood why this is an important trip. So I helped her pack one suitcase full of toys, pencils, and art supplies for the children she is going to see.

I am really going to miss Mom but I know she is going to be fine. She is bringing my friend Flat Michael with her and she is going to help maintain the trip blog. This way I will know what she is up to.

If you want to keep up with Mom during her trip, check out Flat Michael's blog ( or the trip blog (

Mom leaves early tomorrow morning and won't be back until the end of the month. I guess we had better get packing!! Mom...I think you missed a spot.

Bye for now....