New Look for the We Serve Too! series!!

October 5, 2011

Hello!

We are excited to give you a preview of the new look to our series of books for Military kids! Soon we will have a set of 4

1.We Serve Too! A Child’s Deployment Book

2.We Serve Too! A Child’s Reunion Book

3.We Serve Too! The Homecoming Box (Sustainment)

4.We Serve Too! Little Daisy’s Worst /Best Day (a relocation, or moving book)

We love the bright colors and how they will look on a child’s bookshelf. We would love to hear what you think of the new look!

Here they are :

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.

 

 

Free Parent Guides for those with military kids!

June 7, 2011

Hi!

We would like to make you aware of the parents guides available for We Serve Too! A Child’s Deployment Book , and We Serve Too! A Childs’ Reunion Book. Deployment and Reunion bring up many questions for children and concerns for the adults who love them. With our free parents guides, you get the story word for word,page by page. There are suggestions of ways to  respond to questions. I want to give you a peek at what you can expect when you go to the link I will post here and access the guides. One of the first pages of our deployment guide goes like this:


Daddy’s unit was deployed his work is far away, and though we are not overjoyed a soldier must obey. The Army said we couldn’t go and Dad said wait right here and wait for me till I get back in just about a year.~ What does it mean that a soldier must obey? A soldier takes an oath, a special promise that he will go wherever the military sends him to protect our country. This is an important promise that every soldier makes. ~ How long is a year? Use the picture   to explain that a year is the time from one birthday to the next ( a child’s birthday is an important date for them) Use the seasons to go through it, e.g. the birthday is September you could say that is in the fall, ~ What things do you like to do in the fall? Winter? Spring? Summer? ~ What do you think the people in the story are feeling? ~ How did you feel when you were told how long your parent would be gone? ~ What things will the family miss doing together? ~ How can they make it easier to make Dad a part of the things they are doing?

 

A Page in the Parent Guide 2 or the

Reunion Book goes like this:

We all need some time for our family to mend, but I promise you things will get better again. I was not here for Christmas, it broke my heart too. (He picked up Ted Teddy and matched a lone shoe.) But our country called me and it hurt little dear, to know I would be gone when you needed me here. Let children know there is a bigger picture. You are serving your country and though you wanted to be there, your job is important for the Family (it is how they get what they need), for the people of the country where you deployed (you protect and defend people wherever you serve), and for our country (this nation cannot maintain its freedom without you).It is important to let children know you did miss them and the pain of separation is not only theirs, but yours too. This is a sacrifice you all make as a family. You might promise each other you won’t indulge in self pity and resentment. Make a team pact. Use this teachable moment to train them to think outside themselves toward the needs of others too.Discuss mending, what it means- and some ways that your family can mend. Incorporate your ideas naturally into your daily living as much as possible. As you model being OK, they will be OK  too.

This is just a small sample. You may go to our page http://weservetoo.com/parentsleaders/and get the free download.  Click on Book Guide 1(deployment) or Book Guide 2(reunion) . From our home page, click on resources, then parent/leader and you will get to the same page, scroll down to the book downloads. You can use it to talk with kids, open some discussion and help you to think through these things as well. We hope you find them helpful and that you and your little ones will enjoy the resources at We Serve Too!

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.

April Month of the Military Child…Ways to give them Honor?

March 29, 2011

 

Kids… They bring us tears, laughter, joy and heartache. We give them our hearts, our homes, our lives …

April is the month  in which we honor the children of our Military Families. These children sacrifice the time that they would have with a beloved parent ,as that parent works to defend our freedoms, our livelihood, our way of life as we know it. Without these brave warriors, we would not have the safety and privileges that we enjoy as a nation.

So , how can we help when these children,home waiting for a parent to return?How do we help them look at the year ahead missing that important person? How can we help as a Family is apart and the parent at home shoulders all the responsibility? Here are a few ideas, and I hope that you will post others that I have not thought of!

* The We Serve Too! books are great for starting conversations and honoring the feelings and lives of Military kids. Read the stories, and check the parent guides for good conversation starters. Here is the link to our website http://weservetoo.com/

* If you are not the parent or close relative of a Military Family, consider a box of books to be donated to the children of a nearby Military installation, school on post, or daycare center. The books are great for educating civilian children on the sacrifices made by kids with parents that are deployed or returning too.Local school libraries are another place that donations are appreciated.

* The Homecoming Box books make a great activity for a group of children or for one child. The book explains the Homecoming Box, and there are instructions in the back on making the boxes that become a family treasure.

* Host a Homecoming Box party or FRG activity and let the kids work together. It is always good to let the kids talk with one another as they share the same journey.

*Here is the link http://www.operationwearehere.com/Children.html to the childrens page on the website of Operation We Are Here. There are lots of resources on it , and I bet you will find some ideas here about things to do with the kids.

* Taking time to talk with children can enlighten you and also provide clues as to ways to honor them. Ask about school, friends, homework. Do they need  homework help, time away, an outing with one of their friend in tow? Maybe they need to practice their fast ball, get a ride to dance class, just talk to someone about what it is like missing an absent parent.

* be supportive by going to the school play, the science fair, the choir program. You will enjoy them more than you think, even if your kids (and maybe especially so ) if your kids are grown!

* If you are family, or a close friend, let them know that you miss their dad or mom too.

* Offer help or meals to the family. Not just “call me”, but ” I am bringing dinner, what night this week is best?” Supporting the Family helps kids feel secure.

* It doesn’t have to been hard, take a lot of time or money. An ice cream cone, a cute sticker for that child that sits behind you in church, a smile and a “thank you for your parents service” , can let a child feel the pride of being part of a Military family.

Please post an idea, so that many can make a difference for kids this month. April is a month to remember, honor and express our gratitude for the people who give so much.

In the words of a soldier: “If you help my child, you help me. Nothing is more important to me than that.

 

New Year for Camo-N-Kids!

January 16, 2011

Wow, so much has been going on I realized my last post was about Christmas cookies! Sorry all!

Paula and I have been invited to go to San Antonio for an  Army National Guard Yellow Ribbon event the first weekend in February. That means we have lots of work to do to get ready.

We are nearly finished with our newest book The Homecoming Box, which we will be presenting there in Texas. It is going to print, we hope by the end of February, and so the San Antonio group will be the first to pre-view it.  I have had so much fun illustrating this one!

The We Serve Too! kids are growing at about the rate of our grandchildren. As I draw, I can’t help it, they have a life of their own and they are getting older.  I am able to hold back on the growth  somewhat with the drawings (wish I could keep the real thing small a bit longer!)

The kids now have a new batch of friends that are involved in making The Homecoming Box. Our granddaughter Devon decided to name them . I will have to introduce them to you by name when we unveil the book after printing.

We will have a coloring page up on the website of our good friends at Operation We Are Here with all the new kids pictured too, later in February, in time for Valentines Day. Check that in in addition to all the other wonderful resources they have there.

One that our kids have found is fun in the Brat Town Bugle. You can download pages that are like a family newspaper, and then the kids can fill in and send off to their deployed loved one. It is fun for the kids because they can choose what pages to do, sports, school, events, pets, and many others. Here is the link to their menu page for the kids: http://www.operationwearehere.com/Children.html

Happy New Year (OK, so it was two weeks ago…better late than never!)

Picture Pillow Project

May 14, 2010

http://www.pillowprojectusa.com/

This one is a wonderful free gift (though leaving a donation would be important) for the children of those deployed three months or more.

Little ones love to have a snuggly that reminds them of Daddy or Mommy. My little people had a pillow case like this when our son deployed the first time, but they are well worn and the picture so faded it is hard to see . Needless to say, this was an important pillow, and got lots of hugs! Thank you to those who work on this project!

April is Month of the Military Child!

April 5, 2010

This month the focus is on the kids! Here are some ideas of things you can do to celebrate!

Take those kids out for ice cream!

Take a spring walk or bike ride, and don’t forget to take pictures to share with a deployed parent.

A celebration picnic could be fun!

http://soldiersangels.org/gift-for-month-of-the-miltary-child.html go to this link for a free gift (while they last) of a bracelet of dog tags to those children who have a parent that has served in O.I. F. or O.E.F.

Send some We Serve Too! books to your local base as a gift for a class or FRG group of children, or give one to your local library.

Invite the military kids you know who have a deployed parent to a movie or other activity ( this actually makes it Military mom’s day)

Whatever you decide to do, with your own family or for a Military family, remember that the kids do serve too. They are making a sacrifice of missing a parent who defends this nation. To all you Military kids out there, thank you for your sacrifice , and Stay Brave!

As the world swings…

December 1, 2009

Tonight I am listening to Christmas songs from a CD, playing in the upstairs bedroom. An attempt to lull my grandbabies to sleep, which, thank goodness, is finally working. I think about the last few days that we have been together. We have just had a weekend event that was both Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was hectic but fun. Now things are hanging in the balance. Life is about to take some of those hard swings of change.

From the next room , a soft melody, “Mary did you know…“? So true. We do not know the next step, or the next breath if we are honest.
As Paula and I tried to come up with a good analogy for Military life, one from my past seemed to fit best. A mobile.

When my husband and I adopted our baby girl from Korea (the baby is now 23) a caseworker told us that life would be like a mobile. If something is added, or removed, the mobile swings wildly. It begins to settle though, and each person finds his or her own space, and then the mobile balances… for a time…until something is added, or taken away. It helped to know it was not a bad thing, just a normal part of life.

Life feels like that now. We will all have to readjust, balance our weight ,and see how it all settles. Our children are going different directions. Do we stay where we are? Do we take on retirement or another whole new adventure? I wonder if you too are living this analogy? Are you facing deployment? Reunion? A new family member? A move?
Just remember, if you are not now, soon you will be. Change for sure, for all of us. Remember too, the wild swinging is normal, don’t worry, hang on tight, it will be Ok!
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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