We Serve Too! What are these books really about?

October 3, 2013

What are the We Serve Too! series of books really about?  Shannon, a young Military wife and mother, spoke our exact mission and desire as we started out on this journey nearly 10 years ago. She talks about the way children react to the books and how being with other Military children gets them talking .

Thank you Shannon, for sharing the way our books impacted you, and sharing that Little Patriots Embraced was there to help as you dealt with two young sons needing encouragement while their Dad was away from home. That you used the prayer for Daddy as you Skyped as a family, touches our hearts in a special way .

I am posting the video here, it is really what our books are about:

These books are about family, about loving and missing and joyful reunion. They are about talking with children, and parents having a chance to learn that they are allowed to express feelings too, you don’t have to be strong every minute.  These books are about children learning to cope with life, in a positive way, and feeling honor and courage in being a child who’s parents serve this country. Alot to ask of a children’s picture book, but we are thrilled that that, and more, is what our books are about.

 

A Deployment Goodbye Gift

June 19, 2013

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I just wanted to draw your attention to the newest changes on our website!

 

https://www.weservetoo.com/We Serve Too! A Child’s Deployment Book, read in its entirety to you by Kathleen, just for you! (scroll down a bit)

 

https://www.weservetoo.com/Color_Sing_Create.html Deployment Goodbye Gift, a new song by Paula Johnson. Honestly, I was in on the writing of this song, ( as in being the first to hear it) and the first time, I knew it would be something really special. Then, Paula had a good friend and musician have her children sing it, and I could not keep the tears from leaking. I cried through the whole thing. It’s sweetness and bittersweeness touched my heart, and I know touches other hearts as well. I personally love the voices of children singing just about anything, but this one, with the lyrics so meaningful for the children we love and work for, is just a special experience.

We hope that you are finding the summer a time of joy with family and friends and that you are enjoying each one of these sunny warm days while they are here. It all goes so fast, so breathe the early morning freshness, the smell of suntan lotion, BBQ grills, and chlorine at the pool. Enjoy the taste of cool watermelon, and an ice cream cone or two. Take the kids out after dark to see the shining stars (we take a ride in the wagon around the neighborhood) . We pray for you some summer joys, and would love to hear from you about what you think about our books, songs or other resources for your Military Family.

The History of a Child

January 29, 2013

History. For some this word whispers dusty  memories of stuffy classrooms and boring discussions about people we never knew and truth be told, we did not care much about. Today I have been thinking about the history of a child, and the importance of that.

There was a time, when family history was naturally handed down. Not in boring lectures, but in the real life encounters daily, of things that matter.

My partner Paula and I have vastly different experiences with this. Paula was raised on an farm, her maternal grandmother nearby. She was immersed in family stories, lived where events of generations had taken place ,and heard adults talk of and live that history. She knows of her grandparents and how they came to America, the stories of how traditions began, and how to bake  recipes passed down by people that though she was too young to remember, were part of her..

For me it was much different. My parents divorced when I was 7. My father an Army Officer took us several places until I was set down in Denver Colorado no longer venturing from there. My mother, distracted and alone, had to work to support this young child and make a life out of the ashes. There were few opportunities to pass along history, daily survival was more important.

We never lived among the relatives, Uncles, Aunts, grandparents all lived states away. I never visited the dense woods of my mother’s childhood, or ate her cooking, since TV dinners were faster and more convenient for the two of us adrift and alone. I did later have some things that I held to, a recipe for Scotch shortbread from one side of the family and a book of a family story created by some distant Mormon relatives I have never met on the other.

It seems these days my experience is more common than Paula’s. I was thinking that many Military children are moving often, and that can open wonderful experiences for them. Moving can bring new insights and new friends. I guess the point of this blog is to get you think about how you can have both, as you raise your kids. How can you be intentional about history and passing it on to them?

 

Here are some ideas, you may like to think about

A family story box: this can be fun. Send a note to as many family members as you can. Ask them to write a story or memory that is important or funny but meaningful, memories or stories they would like to pass on to your children and have them mail or e-mail it to you. Collect these in a special box and share them with you children often. You can include recipes that are passed down, cultural items or photos, family traditions and where they came from.

A family book: There are some great websites out there,where you can find family history and then make it into a book that can be kept. You can download photos, write stories, add memories of places you are sent as a Military Family. Maybe one book for each place you go (Shuttefly has some nice ways to make books). Remember that you are history in the making! Scrapbooks are good too and may be cheaper.

Visit places where you grew up: Taking children to see grandparents and others is wonderful for them and for you. You can re-connect and show them where you lived as a child, kids love that.

Take kids to museums; especially when you are sent to a new base or post. There is history there, and now you are part of it. Give them a love of what has gone before and why things have meaning. This can later transfer into interest in your family history. Who else served in the Military? Where did the family come from and where did they settle? Are there any famous people you are related to? The history of our nation is part of the fabric of who we are, every one of us. It is your history and mine, pass it along!

Talk about family: births, deaths, adoptions, marriages, try connecting and talking about family with your kids. Giving kids a sense of other family members even when they live far away, gives them some point of connection later on. If they have heard you talk of aunt Sofia  or cousin Delbert, they will be more likely to connect when they finally meet them. Family members who have passed on are part of your child’s history, let them know how these people impacted your life and what things about them are memorable. As the mother of two adopted children I have to add that your history is their history…don’t worry about answers you do not know about birth family , pass on matter of factly what you know, but the focus is the family they now have. They are a grafted piece  fully belonging to the family they have been adopted by. You are giving them a foundation when their stone is cemented into the family wall.

Deployments and Reunions: Save e-mails, photos and remembrances of these times. Kids, if they are very young will be very interested in Daddy’s tour if Iraq ,Afghanistan, Japan or Alaska, and his place in history as a soldier. Save photos of the kids, they will love seeing what they looked like in that period of time, and how you all got through those times. Kids can find a solid place in the family, or feel blown like dandelion fuzz on a breeze, this is the importance of the history of a child. You can create that solid place no matter how many times you pick up and adventure, by being just a bit of a historian and collector on their behalf!

Here is a book to make your next move easier on the kids and open conversation for you with them. Little Daisy’s Worst/Best Day talks about moves, leaving family and finding new adventures. Acknowledging the difficulties, but introducing the positive, your little ones will love it!

Here is the link so you can take a look! https://www.weservetoo.com/bookstore_.html

 

Reunion,the Single Parent, and the Daddy Box.

January 26, 2013

Soon our family will be welcoming home our soldier and we are so excited! He will be living and working close enough to be present for holidays, birthdays and just weekends with the We Serve Too! kids. This is new to all of us and we can’t wait! As a mother, grandmother, and someone who has worked closely with kids all my life, I have been contemplating a few things about this . I believe that We Serve Too! A Child’s Reunion Book is a great way for kids to talk through a reintegration no matter if the family is intact, divorced or supported by grandparents or other caretakers.

If you are a single parent returning from deployment , or the caretaker of children while someone has been away, here are  three  things that might be a little helpful to remember:

1.Kids are creatures of habit (actually we all are ) and what they are used to is not always easy to undo. In our Reunion book we address this, in showing that feelings get complicated . Not expecting things to go smoothly will avoid lots of hurt feelings.

2. Homecoming is wonderful…sometimes. Everyone has had lots of time to think about how great this is going to be!  No one has thought about what it will be like when a child wants to go home to the parent they have been living with when you have them for the weekend , what it will feel like when the child rejects gifts or planned activities that have been lovingly offered, or on the child’s side,what it will feel like to be disciplined by this parent they have waited so long for.

3. Take it slow. Get to know each other again. Find things that you share in common. Let kids know that though they are used to life one way, life has changed course …for the better! Let them know that you understand they miss Mommy , but you love them and you are there, they will see Mommy in a day or two (or whatever the arrangement is). Be confident, friendly and not overly empathetic. When kids know you are acting in their best interest, they begin to feel safe and accept the new arrangements. Finding things to do, like getting kids engaged in helping you make dinner, washing the car together, reading a story, will help calm the feelings and build bonds between you.

Here is one word of caution, don’t be intimidated. Don’t let kids cry and get when they want…this will create a mess beyond your imagination and honestly makes kids feel insecure and scared. They need to know that a mature adult is caring for them and they are not in charge. It is hard sometimes  being a parent who has been away, it creates undue guilt at times. If you want to read more about this, look at our free parent guide on our reunion book here:https://www.weservetoo.com/Discussion_Guides.html

As the grandma, I want to help my son as he comes back, gets an apartment , and begins to enjoy his beautiful We Serve Too! kids!

I came up with the idea of a “Daddy Box”. This  box has a few things he may not think about or know about yet: the special soap that little girl needs, the laundry soap for said little girl who is allergic to other kinds, children’s Tylenol, children’s cold medicine, a box of band aids , neosporin for any little cuts that happen, a toothbrush and favorite toothpaste for each kid, children’s shampoo. You could add maybe a few favorite foods that kids are used to, night lights, or toys that are familiar and may need to be found in both homes. If you have a young lady nearing teen years,  who will be with Dad, make sure that you provide things in case changes of life occur on his watch. I bet you could think of some other things, if you do, please let me know since I only have two more weeks to get it ready!

If you are a parent coming home, Welcome Back, and thank you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Are Books Effective For Reaching the Heart Of a Child? Book Giveaway!!(yes, free books!)

November 27, 2012
http://www.faithdeployed.com/2012/11/why-are-books-effective-for-reaching-the-heart-of-a-child-plus-give-away/
Join our conversation about books and children with our friends at Faith Deployed (this is a great blog for Military Families). You can enter the giveaway by leaving a comment at the end of the blog on Faith Deployed.
The blog is discussing how a hard back children’s book is a special gift to a child, and why we felt we needed to print our books that way, though it is more expensive and difficult than paperback or e-books.  The contest will award 10 We Serve Too! books and 1 Grand Prize of all our books (all 4 full color hardback books, each with a dogtag, the Military ABC, and our Afghanistan booklet) !!! We can’t wait to read your comments!
A big thank you to Jocelyn Green of Faith Deployed for featuring our books!

New Book in the series, We Serve Too!

October 20, 2012

As a Military Family, have you ever had to pack up and move to a new location, that thing that the Military calls PCS (Permanent Change of Station)? Are you a civilian who has ever had to move?

The We Serve Too!™ Kids are moving!  And dear Little Daisy, that sweet Golden Retriever, knows a secret,–a secret that will help ease anxiety and bring comfort to little ones and families anticipating a move.   Little Daisy’s Worst/Best Day, the 4th book in the award-winning We Serve Too!™  series, warmly and tenderly explores the topic of relocation and moving  —an experience common to Military and civilian families alike!

This book is a great addition to our series, rounding out all the major issues that kids face as a proud member of the Military Family. These four books, help parents, teachers, counselors friends and family , discuss openly the fears, the joys and the changes that come with deployment, reunion, waiting for a homecoming and now moving to a new location!

This book features the We Serve Too! kids, navigating the emotions of leaving the known and going positively into the unknown. The focus of the story, is an acknowledgment of the losses, and the forward look to the things that make life an adventure and joys of new experiences. It also focus ‘s on the ways we can stay connected with those we love.

This page takes you to our store page https://www.weservetoo.com/bookstore_.html. If you scroll to the bottom, you can peek inside each of the We Serve Too! books, including Little Daisy!

Paula and I are really excited about this book. It is fun, touching and a great way to prepare kids for your next move. If you get one, please let us know what you think, we would love to hear from you!

 

Fall will bring Soldier Daddy closer every day…

August 14, 2012

 

 

 

The kids have had a wonderful summer that has slipped by awfully fast. We hope that you have tucked away a few sunshiny memories to think on as the fall and winter come. We are looking forward to soldier Daddy coming home, leaving the rugged terrain of Afghanistan and being instead close enough to hug!

 

As a mother, I can hardly stand the end months of this deployment, just waiting and praying that he will be out of there and equally proud of how he serves this country with every fiber of his being. My grandchildren can hardly wait for the Daddy they miss to be here, really here in person.

 

We have worked hard to stay connected and close even with all those miles between us. Calls and notes, packages and facebook messages. Soon all that will be replaced with a PCS to Colorado, and we are thrilled!

Paula and I will be going to a local elementary school to bring the We Serve Too! books to kids and teach them about Veterans Day. This will happen of course in November, but we are planning now, since we will be working with more than 500 children. We were told that they did not understand Veterans Day last year, and so we have vowed to change that!

We will be talking to them about books, illustrating ,and  being an author. We will be letting them illustrate a book of their own, and best, we will be telling them of the sacrifices that are made for them each and every day. These children need to know that other children wait for beloved parents to return. They need to understand that all through our history, men and women have chosen to risk everything to keep this country free and our way of life intact. If they do not understand that, how can they ever understand the gift they have been given, and the weight of that gift? If they don’t know that this country is unique and special, how will they find the passion to defend it?  Paula and I are not really just talking about books at all, but about something infinitely more important. We hope the kids will embrace it.

Here is hoping that your last summer days are blessed and restful, and that the excitement of a new school year will carry the little ones into good learning situations!

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!

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.