A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words.

October 30, 2009

This pencil drawing I did, comes from the heart of a mother and grandmother. I want to acknowledge those little ones who miss a beloved parent, and the parents that serve this country with honor.
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The Coloring Books are here..Yippeeee! Get your Crayons Ready!

October 29, 2009

Covers WST ABC's [3]

Here it is! We are so excited! This is a great coloring book, substantial in size and feel, and just fun!
We think that kids will love these. The Military phonetic alphabet is great for them to learn, the coloring pages full of humor , with the well loved characters of We Serve too!

Since my grandkids are the We Serve Too! kids, I can’t wait to give them each a coloring book of their own tonight, so cool to have a coloring book with you as the star!

These books would be great for a birthday party, a pre-deployment kids day, a way to keep military kids busy on vacation, a fun way to introduce civilian kids to some things military, a way to teach kids a new way to clarify what they say , a way for new recruits to have fun learning the military alphabet! On an on I can think of ways these coloring books could be used.

The books are 3.00 each, which makes them an affordable way to entertain the kids.
To order call Complete Book and Media at 1-800-986-1775

The Gingerbread train… Expectations? Not so much.

October 24, 2009

gingerbread-train-

I am actively in the mode to pull off this German Christamas before our son leaves for his three years in Germany. I think that his children (Devon age 7 and Landen age 5) will learn where Daddy is going ,and make a few memories while he is home. Today I found a recipe for a gingerbread train! I’m sure it will be lots of work on my part. The kids are too young to go in for all the cooking, but I plan to let them help make the dough, help roll it out. I will cut the shapes and get them in the oven. I think I will have to assemble the train, then they can do the decorating! I am hoping that I can accomplish this, and that it won’t be like so many things are…you know…you have a great vision in your mind, then it looks absolutely nothing like you thought it would.

This brings me to the topic of expectations. How many times do expectations ruin the joy of something? Like when you look at a travel brochure and the beach looks endless and the pool huge , then you get there and the beach is 8 feet wide and the pool has skimmers floating on it? Well, if you just say “whatever we see I will enjoy”, you hardly notice the skimmers!

In military life, the lesson is:have few if any, expectations. This is a lesson the rest of the world needs to heed as well. To be truthful, letting expectations slide by the wayside, equals a happier and more adventous life!

Here are some questions to ask yourself . What am I expecting, and how will I feel if things turn out to be different ? Am I living in a constant state of dissapointment? Do I feel that no one around me cares much about how I want things to be? Do you ever hear yourself say things (to yourself or others) like,…when I get a better job….when I lose 10 pounds…when my husband gets back from deployment… when my kids are older…when I  move to a bigger house…. then things will be better!? (yep, I’m raising my hand too!)

If you hear these in your self talk, you are living in the expectations, not in the life you have. Teaching ourselves to have thankful hearts , teaches our kids to have them as well. Things are never perfect this side of Glory, but there is still much to enjoy! Children pick up the attitudes of the adults around them. Husbands and wives feel tension from each other even when it is not spoken. It is tiresome to be around someone who is chronically unhappy. As I tell my kids…happiness is a choice. Circumstances are not always easy, but we either choose to have unrealistic expectations, or to let go , and find the good in what is.

Realistic expectations will go a long way in keeping relationships functioning well. As a good friend of mine once said: ” It would be futile and foolish to expect an elephant to fly. We might be able to teach him to flap his big ears but we will be disappointed when he can’t lift off”.

Sure hope this Christmas thing turns out well… but if not, we will have been together!
Here is the link for the gingerbread train…in case you want to join the fun! http://familyfun.go.com/recipes/gingerbread-train-715184/

Christmas German Style…In November

October 17, 2009

In our second book We Serve Too! 2 A Child’s Reunion Book, there is a scene where the family is cutting a Christmas tree , and it isn’t even cold! This came from a real life experience in our family as my son was deployed to Iraq one October and we scurried to make sure that he did not miss the family Christmas. We found that Christmas in October was different but good!

This year we will have a new experience. Justin is leaving for a three year stint in Germany. He has to go in early December. He will actually be home for Thanksgiving! I am planning ( thanks to Paula for the idea) to do a German Christmas for the family before he goes. I am in the mode of researching the traditions German Christmas celebrations.  My partner Paula is of German heritage and my daughters new boyfriend is German, so I have plenty of expert advice. I’ll keep you up on the things we decide to do.

The purpose of this is not only to make sure that the holidays are enjoyed together, but also to help my grandchildren learn something about where their daddy is going. Helping children to learn about the places a parent may be going, opens up new connections. I know that as we work to make these connections,  bonds become stronger and relationships closer.

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Gute Nacht
goot-eh nakht
Good Night

A Ditty for Military Alphabet…Our new We Serve Too! Coloring Book

October 12, 2009

Here is just a little taste of the new  Military Alphabet coloring book we are about to release!

In the back, we have this little ditty, written by Paula Johnson, another clever way to help you learn the letters. It goes like this:

Military Phonetic Alphabet

A is Alpha, Bravo-BWST ABC's Letter D

C is Charlie Horse and me!

D for Delta , Echo-E

Foxtrot-won’t you dance with me?

G is for Golf , H is Hotel

I is for India (the Taj Mahal). J is for Juliet (she’s Romeo’s dream)

K is for Kilo, Lima is L (that’s the city and not the bean)

M is for Mike as in microphone , N is for November when we love to come home.

Grouchy O is Oscar. Papa-letter P,

Q is for Quebec where saying yes is said, “Oui, Oui!” (pronounced we , we)

R-where art thou Romeo? Sierra-S you see!

T-Tango in U-Uniform

V-Victor…victory!

Whiskey, whiskers W

X-ray-I can see through you! Y -is yankee doodle doo

Z for Zulu- now we’re through!

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The coloring books are on their way! Lots of fun for kids and parents!

We Serve Too! Military ABC's Coloring Book!!

October 8, 2009

Our newest fun resource for kids is about to be unveiled! We have created a way for kids to learn the Military Phonetic Alphabet… fun for parents and kids to do together!

The We Serve Too characters, help you learn , and have lots of laughs along the way. Include kids in all things Military, as they speak in ways the military does. (I know this is useful as my Army son read to me his recent  flight itinerary that way…good thing I had researched these letters!)

You never know, maybe new recruits would like this easy way to learn it too!

Covers WST ABC's [3]

In another blog I’ll share a taste of what is in the coloring book, also , I’ll be letting you know when it is out. As of now, it goes to the printer tomorrow!

Hotel Alpha Victor Echo

Foxtrot Uniform November!

That’s and Order!

Military Children …Serve Too!

little soldier girl

This photo of this sweet child has been making the rounds of the military blogs. I decided to put it up too, because it speaks of the hearts of children who are waiting  for a beloved parent to return. This little one could not bear to part with her Daddy as he left for Iraq,  and would not let go. No one had the heart to lead her away as he lined up in formation. Four-year-old Paige Bennethum stayed by his side.

She is one of many children we love and serve with our books in the We Serve Too! series. It is this picture that tugs at our hearts and why we work to make the best possible resources for Military Families. We feel the pain and the honor, the purpose and the sacrifice of our country’s children.

There area many little ones making this very sacrifice today. We hope that in some small way, we have helped their brave parents comfort and explain deployment and reunion, and that we add to the resiliency of these Families. God Bless them all.

Making Deployment A Time of Growth for Young Children:How Do Adult Attitudes Effect Children?

October 5, 2009

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Paula and I had the privilege of doing a book signing at a friends farm, as they sponsored Military Family Day at their pumpkin patch. A beautiful fall day, with the blue October sky that we here in Colorado enjoy so much! Kids and parents together picking out pumpkins, produce ,and generally enjoying the simple country life.

Up to our table  came a woman, who read through our first book. The daughter of a military father she told of the suffering that she went thorough as a child. It came out differently than perhaps many have thought. The suffering , she explained was not that she was without her father, though that was tough, it was her mothers response that damaged her heart so deeply. Her mother she said, was constantly depressed and unable to cope with her husbands absence. She would sleep and cry, and the children at a young age had to get their own breakfast.

The thing she remembered was her fathers homecomings, which were short and infrequent. He came with all the honor , salutes, flags waving, sun glinting off white uniforms as his ship pulled in. She felt proud in those moments.

As I listened, I thought about the way a parent responds to the difficulties of life. Does it tell the children that they are on their own? That’s a frightening thought for a little one. Does it tell the child that life is only good, when we have what we want and when those we love are close by? Maybe it tells a child that they can make the best of it. With faith , an attitude of adventure, along with the conscious choice for “happy” they can make it. We Serve Too! is an attitude, as well as their story!

I am certainly not suggesting that deployments never bring tears, or the reality that some days are  just downright difficult. If a parent can be real with their emotions, and at the same time teach children that happiness is indeed a choice that can be made, children are better equipped for life.

Some military kids grow up to find they have difficulty keeping relationships intact, perhaps coming from so many goodbyes.  Leaving people every year or so can become an unconscious pattern that interferes with long term choices.  I don’t know the answer, but I wonder if parents who work to stay connected, those who are practicing the principle of resiliency as the hallmark of Military Life, have stronger children?

I want you to see these young ladies that the National Guard honored by making a video of thier song. They are singing about the family, and it is obvious things are not easy. That said,  they are thriving and moving forward.Perhaps the attitudes of their adults have fostered that?  check this out:

The Price of Peace

I do not believe that Military Kids are destined to have these patterns and struggles. They can come through as healthy and well adjusted as any child if the parents attitude is one of honor and purpose in the waiting.

Our attitudes now,  as the adults, can set a child’s life on a course to resiliency or  suffering . There is more choice in it than we know.