A Salute to our Armed Forces, Armed Forces Day May 19th

May 18, 2012

 

Don’t forget that tomorrow is our chance to thank those who serve in our Armed Forces!

This is a day to thank you, those who defend our nation;

You have a job that is often difficult, times far from family and friends, and one of the most honorable things a person can ever do.

Thank you for the hard work, the overcoming, the times when we are sure that you wonder why you signed up for this. Thank you for the times when you know full well why you did,  some of you would do it  again.

Thank you for defending those of us who live our lives every day without a thought about why we are free, or how we stay that way.

Thank you and a big salute to those who have gone into combat, or supported those there, in all the worlds conflicts over the years. To those who are there now in Afghanistan, we are here praying and your nation is behind you.

http://articles.springsmilitarylife.com/articles/military-176-free-http.html here is a link to tomorrow’s activities around Colorado.

To all our friends in every branch of the Armed Forces, we salute you!

We Serve Too! Wins Mom’s Choice Award!

April 5, 2012

Well, Paula and I are excited and honored that We Serve Too! has won the Mom’s Choice Award in the category of a Children’s Picture Book Series!  The Mom’s Choice Awards® (MCA) evaluates products and services created for children and families. The program is globally recognized for establishing the benchmark of excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. Thank you Mom’s Choice Award!

Some of the distinguished panel members who evaluate products  include : Dr. Twila C. Liggett, ten time Emmy winner and founder of PBS’s Reading Rainbow, Julie Aigner-Clark, creator of Baby Einstein and The safe Side Project, Jodee Blanco, New York Times best selling author, Priscilla Dunstan creator of the Dunstan Baby Language, and Patricia Rossi, host of NBC’s Manners Minute, Dr. Letticia Wright D.C. , host of the Wright Place TV Show and Catherine Whitcher M.ED , special needs expert and founder of Precision Education Inc.  You can imagine , we are pleased that We Serve Too! has been found worthy of an award!

Of course, the judges that love our books best are the ones with cookie crumbs around the mouth, camo overalls, and lots of energy! To them we say thank you, and may our books bring honor and courage to each Military Kid!

We have to add a  photo or two here of the actual stickers and award paper that came to us in the mail…of course we know that the best award of all ,is that of a little one saying to a parent “ please read me We Serve Too! again!

The Daddy Book: Proof of Love and Commitment

March 26, 2012

All families who have experienced the long days away of deployment, know that sometimes our perceptions are colored by our feelings of missing the one we love. This can turn to a belief that we NEVER get to be together and the slope of self pity that just sometimes happens for us all. We know that the work being done is important , but the connections are important too. We are in the midst of the deployment cycle as our soldier is in the “stan” and we here at home working to keep the connections fresh and happening!

I want to share with you a project I have been working on lately, one that you might want to take on as well. This can be as indiviual as your family, but I want to state the thinking behind it.  There are many things out there that are suggested for keeping connections between parent and child during long deployments. This one is created to span the length of a Military career, and a number of deployments.

Our family is now on four years and counting of our soldier being away from home. Two years in  Iraq, two in Germany and now in Afghanistan, will bring us eventually to five. I started the Daddy Book, so that my grandchildren could look at it whenever they want. They can see when Daddy was home, when he sent letters and photos while he was away, that e-mails came from him, and that through it all he has loved them, parented them, and been a father even while defending our country. Some of you will have longer or shorter deployments, but what matters is that the perceptions of being left, perhaps of missing out, can be spoken to, with proof of things that could otherwise be forgotten.

The Daddy Book is an ongoing mission. You can set in up in a million different ways; it can be a scrapbook as ours is, or a box you keep things in, or a file folder that is marked for each deployment. Kids can help, or you can make it for them, and just update it as things happen. Encourage the parent who is away to send notes, letters, photos and other things to add. Be sure to take lots of photos of family events and times together when you are finally reunited.  Here are a few photos of the Daddy Book  so far: in it there are the cards, letters and e-mails, photos, a Psalm 91 bandanna that he carried in Iraq, a coin from that same deployment. I have labeled each page with the post they were at, what they were doing and marked the times he came home and took them places they love, like the children’s museum and build a bear workshop. You will have your favorite memories too, and the kids will love to look through them.

Reunions are Joy and Adjustment…our free guide to download

January 23, 2012

Devon Edick's dad salutes the flag

 

After noting that most of our sales lately at We Serve too! are the reunion book, we say Welcome Home to those who have been serving in Iraq and other places in the world!

We are thankful for your safe return and your family has waited patiently and long for this day. We know things that are good do not necessarily mean that they are easy, so we are offering you the link to our reunion book parent guide. Even if you do not purchase the book, the guide is yours to use as you see fit. You can download it and perhaps at the very least know that you are not alone, that the things you are going through are common to many Military Families. Children love our colorful hardback books that come with a dog tag that says” I will be strong and courageous“, a fitting sentiment for those strong Military Kids!

This link http://weservetoo.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Reunion-Parent-Guide-letter-size.pdf will take you to the pdf, for coping with reunion. Again, Welcome home, thank you for all you do for our nation; for the protections, sacrifices and hard work.  We pray you will now find joy in your Homecoming!

“Hand” Made Christmas Tree!

December 6, 2011

 

If you have a loved one far away, perhaps you will want to make this handprint Christmas tree! Not only will they love seeing how the kids are growing with those cute fingerprints, they can hang this life size tree, then roll it up for another year!

 

 

Here is how we did it:

First here is what you need:

*a roll of giftwrap

*green paint (we used poster paint)

* a brush

* an assortment of fun stuff: glitter, stars, magazine clippings, markers, crayons, paint, glue, tape, stickers  and anything you think would make good decorations

Then: lay the roll of paper on a table or the floor and tape down. Then the fun begins! Paint those little hands green with the paint brush and have them print the hands in a downward design, so the fingers are the ends of the branches. Start at the bottom and work your way up to the top.

We cut a star out of shiny candy wrapper paper, but you can use anything that inspires your imaginative heart!

When it dries, you can decorate as much as you like!

You can ask the post office for a free mailing tube and then roll up  your tree, and send it on it’s way (ours cost about 5.00 to mail overseas) You have to write out the custom form, and say 1 paper Christmas tree, that should entertain the postal workers from one continent to another.

We hope that your and you kids enjoy this project, we sure did, now we will see what Daddy thinks!

May you have a blessed Christmas.

 

 

 

Preview of the Art for our Relocation Book!

October 22, 2011

Hi!

There has been nothing new on this blog for awhile, I have been at the drawing board, literally! I am going to post the cover and two pages  of our upcoming book on relocation…I think you all have stories about PCS (permanent change of station, for those of you outside the Military)

This is the cover…as you can see, moving can be difficult. The tone of this book is to help kids know they are not alone in not wanting to leave behind what they know, but that good things can come of it. Paula has written this in her famous rhyming style, and it is fabulous!

The story title is Little Daisy’s Worst/Best Day! I don’t want to give it all away, but do want to let you know that is a true story, that the author Paula Johnson experienced, as Daisy had to leave her home full of foster kids (social services said too many dogs,) and Paula and Barry took Daisy to live with them on the farm.

All the feelings of sad , mad, getting used to things, and finally acceptance, good memories and positive outcomes are there for parents and kids to discuss.

 

What kids can resist wriggling, soft, sweet puppies? The story begins with 9 of them!

 

 

 

 

The long scary ride to a new place far away. Not only far, but also different! You can see that Daisy is not too thrilled, but as it does in real life, the new that we resist, can be the best!

Well, that is all I will share right now! I have lots of painting yet to do! We would love to hear your stories of kids and PCS adventures if you want to share!

 

We are hoping to publish by early March! We will keep you posted!

A New Soldier, and Some Free Books…

September 12, 2011

Well, we have been a Military family for a number of years now, and soon we will have a new soldier in the family. Our youngest is about to graduate from Basic Combat Training at Ft. Sill Oklahoma.  BCT is that process where boys become men and civilians become soldiers. They never come out the way they went in.

Now youngest son is on the path to a new journey in the Army. Life is good, busy and as always- requiring much faith and humor.

Paula and I will be travelling to Ft. Sill for this momentous occasion. We are going to be bringing some books with us, and if you are at Ft.  Sill, please contact us. We would like to give away a few books to the kids there. There will be a limited number of books , so first ones to contact us will get them!

We plan to have 12 books to give away, 4 deployment books, 4 reunion books, 4Homecoming box books. You will not know which title you will get…so surprise!

You can e-mail us at weethepeoplepublishing@gmail.com, that works better than comments here (since this does not go directly to our e-mail for some reason)  Write us your name, number and ages of your children (if you want to send names we can sign books for them.) You will have to pick up the books on post while we are there Sept 29 or 30. We will give you more information when you contact us. We can’t wait to meet you!

 

Does homeschooling and the Military Life work?

August 20, 2011

Dear Families,

Before I start this post, please know that whatever a good parent chooses as education for the child they love is just that, a choice. It is not that one things is better than another, in fact what works for one family may not work for another. This post is just something that I wanted to explore with you, something to think about and consider.

I started to write this post, because I have been thinking through this for quite some time now.

I am the product of those who used to feel that children needed public education. As one with a child development background and an elementary teaching certificate, I now have a better idea of the joys and the wonder of homeschooling children. If I could do it again, I would wade into this adventure wholeheartedly.

One question people like me asked was “How do children socialize with no other children?” I have come to understand, that they don’t, homeschoolers are not isolated in a bubble, there are others doing this too. Childhood is not lost, but instead enriched. Our society is unsure of the parental role in the life of a child, and we have been taught to be suspicious of things that are not organized on the level of public school, but that is something that can be challenged. It does not mean that you will choose it, just that it is a viable choice to make if you want to.

For Military Families, I am wondering if  this may be even better, if you can do it, since you will not have to start at new schools, where children have to repeat things they already have done, or have to rush ahead without the foundations laid by an earlier educational experience. Here is what I now know, in part thanks to my partner Paula, who has walked this adventurous road herself, that children thrive, and parents do too, if they want to teach their children about the world.

I came upon a blog,  written by Ann Voskamp, to which I offer you the link here. The beauty of the things she says, the reality of her children’s freedom and depth of learning, moves me. I could not address this as well as she does. I do not have the experience , but if I could do it over, it would inspire me to set out .

I know that we cannot all do this. That would be unrealistic. If you are sending your child to school ( as I did)  do so happily, and stay in touch with the teacher and encourage what they are learning. If you are on the edge of considering Homeschool, perhaps this will help.

What ever your family chooses, have a beautiful and productive school year!

Homeschool?

Pros and Cons for Christian Parents

from this link you can find other blogs by Ann on Homeschool.

 

 

Honor and Courage for Military Kids

May 15, 2011

 

The other day I was pursuing two  blogs written by Military mothers raising little ones as a spouse is deployed. This is something I do occasionally, to keep in touch with what people are experiencing and especially what the littlest members of the family are going through.

In these two blogs, each family had more than one child. In both families the children were very connected to the father, who was the deployed parent. Both mothers stated that the children had a very hard time with the separation, and the anticiaption of it before it happened. They also shared the children’s behaviors, of crying, searching for daddy, and angry oubursts.

Then came the differences. Parent A,  summarized with saying that her children would be forever wounded by this absence and that she was having a hard time accepting her role as single parent while her husband was away.

Parent B,  looked for creative ways to make the deployment a focused time of keeping the father in the children’s’ lives. She did things like placing pictures at child eye level and making a jar with daddy’s picture on it and giving them  a kiss goodnight from daddy before bed (a sweet Hershey kiss). This family was able to settle in, and though deployment was hard, it became manageable. The children were able to go on and be happy most of the time.

It was not those little things she did that grabbed my attention though. This parent stated something profound …the children in family B were proud that Daddy was a soldier. Mother B was too, and let them know  in no uncertain terms, what an honor it was to be a Military Family. Now I am not saying the parent A was not proud of her husband, just that it was not the focus, as it was in family B.

No one will argue that the military life is ever changing, but we do not believe it is unstable just because there is an absence for a time (sometimes a long time) . The attitude of the parent directly effects the children.

This is the core of the matter. We all need purpose in life. To know our purpose is a gift that allows us to endure sacrifice with honor and courage.  Spouses who are proud of the service thier loved one provides this country, are more likely to stay married and to find the adventure in being a  Military family. Those who are fearful, unsure of  the relationship and unhappy, generally do not survive.

Divorce in the Military has high numbers because we live in a “me first” time ,and are encouraged to find ourselves outside the marriage relationship. Sadly this is transfered to our children who are told they are “being cheated’ while a deployment is under way, rather than honored by a larger purpose outside themselves.

If the family can feel and embrace this larger purpose, they will weather the deployments, the changes, the reunions, and find a stronger and more bonded life within the Miltiary.

Paula and I have a mission statement :We Serve Too ! Honor and Courage for Military Kids! We hope that our resources help children and their parents embrace that badge of courage and honor they most bravely earn.

Every Month for Military Kids

April 27, 2011

 

 

The month of the Military Child is coming to a close. We have thought of ways to celebrate the resiliency of kids who learn to wait for a parent to return, who move frequently from friends and extended family, who can’t feel roots, though they test their wings in ways most children never do.

They sleep with bears that speak with the voice of a deployed parent, on pillows with that parents picture. They wear dog tags that say “I will be strong and courageous” and strong and courageous they are.

We cannot forget the children. April is a great month to celebrate them, but please remember, parents are deployed every month of the year, and children wait at home.

If you know a Miltiary Family, look out for the kids. Offer to help with homework, take them for ice cream, tell them you know it is not easy.

Kids are resilient, but not made of stone. Tears are good sometimes and a listening ear a comfort to the heart.

If you are a teacher and have a Military child in your class, perhaps you can make a point of having the class send notes, or artwork occasionally to that child’s parent. It will please the parent,  and create a belonging and sharing in your class that can  help that child feel less alone.

If you are a parent, remember that though your children are very close to you, you need to talk about problems and difficulties with another caring adult. You are the rock while your spouse is away, and children need to feel secure. The temptation to share too much with a child is there, as you feel alone too, but there are many people willing to help you if you reach out to your church, your friends, family or other Military Families who know what you are going through.

Children need to stay connected. There are many good resources to help you guide a child in creative and fun ways to stay in touch with a deployed parent. The resources at We Serve Too! are designed with this in mind. These resources can be found at  at http://weservetoo.com/

Lets remember to celebrate these wonderful kids, and not just in April!