Archives for posts with tag: deployment craft

Anyone who knows me remotely well enough knows how much I enjoy homeschooling Little B. I’ve put off enrolling him in public school a year longer than I had originally anticipated. Knowing full well this is our last year together is somewhat bittersweet. I am going to miss him like crazy, and I think it’s partly because we are literally always together, and he’s been my constant through all these deployments.

Our Mondays are usually pretty full, school wise. We do an average of an extra hour and a half of school work due to new spelling words, projects, etc. And today, of all days, I had so much I wanted to fit in, so I’m so grateful our schedule currently allows us to stay in on Mondays. I was half tempted to stay in my PJ’s all day – who would’ve known?!

The highlight of our school day was working on alliterations. I found some pretty sweet material on introducing poetry to kiddos in the primary grades, and Little B is so creative and silly he had us both in stitches with some of the stuff he came up with. I especially loved whipping out some Shel Silverstein to read with him. He’s one of our favorite authors, and I swear we could read his books cover to cover in one sitting.

Since our visit to the Austin Museum of Art with Big Brooks and his parents I’ve been itching to try my hand at monoprinting with The Boy. I was super excited to see some blog posts by The Artful Parent on the subject and then did some extra research on my own. We were able to view a video of monoprinting today as well as  some famous examples of monoprints. Little Brooks wasn’t quite sure what to expect from his prints, so the first runs were really tests to see what different amounts of paint, tools, or techniques would produce. We were both pleased with the results, and after an hour of monoprinting he decided he was done. And then it was my turn! I tried making a monoprint to send to Brooks, by writing out a phrase we say to each other a lot, only to realize that I forgot that monoprints create a mirror effect… so the writing was all backwards…

which reminded me of the time I painted Brooks’ jersey number on my face for one of his basketball games, but because I was looking at myself in the mirror it was actually backwards. Of course, I never figured that out. Brooks’ sister, Jessica, filled me in, all the while laughing. So I’m probably going to send it to him anyway, because, he’ll get it, that that was something I’d do.

The other highlight of our day was creating a “Daddy Put-Up Jar.” I literally stumbled upon this project by accident while looking for other stuff.

Here is the link: http://www.playfulearning.com/Playful_Learning/Blog/Entries/2011/1/13_Put-Ups_for_Daddy.html

What a great idea, to fill a jar with “put-ups” for D.Brooks! Little B was super excited about the idea and began listing all the reasons he’s thankful and appreciative for all his Daddy does, and why he loves him so much. Our plan is to keep the jar out where we can easily access it each day so that as Little B thinks of new put-ups he can add them to the jar. We’ll decorate a separate jar, and each month, in our care package to our soldier, we’ll send him what Little B has written.

Because we’ve done this deployment thing so many times, and because I’m pretty independent, and rather old fashioned to boot, our moments of separation go pretty smoothly, in that I’m not taking on any extra tasks or jobs that I wasn’t normally already fulfilling, other than the single parenting thing. From household chores to “administrative” things like registering vehicles, doctor’s appointments, sport sign ups, you name it, I typically handle it. All this self-sufficiency sometimes leaves Brooks feeling like he’s not 100 percent needed, which is so far off the truth, it’s crazy. So when I saw this project I immediately thought that not only would it be a wonderful way of affirming how much he’s loved and needed, but the very specific and concrete ways he enriches and brightens our son’s life. And more importantly how much his little boy adores him.

I usually sit down at some point during the deployment and write my beau 100 reasons why I love him. It’s never difficult, and always leaves me feeling like the luckiest girl in the world, and more in love with him than I can imagine is physically possible. For sure I’ll still do that this deployment but now Little B can do the same thing, in his own way, with the Put Up Jar. I love it!

So another day down, filled with laughter and joy, though we always feel the absence of Brooks beneath the surface of all we do.  Tomorrow is another day, and we’ll do our best to make the mostof it, creating memories to share with D.Brooks, all the while missing him continually … and it’ll be okay.

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handprints to help bridge the distance

As the dreaded moment of “see you later” quickly approaches we are always mindful of ways to help ease the pain and ache of the long separation. With four deployments under our belt you’d think we’d have some type of traditions set up, but we’re not particularly close to that yet. We always do what feels right for us.

Our last deployment Little B gave his Daddy a beloved plastic iguana to keep with him, with the purpose to help ease any sadness. Somehow he always felt better when his Daddy would remind him that he was carrying it with him daily. We’ve also used electronic photo frames to record messages to each other, and honestly, hearing Brooks’ voice on particularly hard days lends me strength when I need it the most.

Call me sappy, but I like to keep an unwashed shirt of his nearby, and usually sleep it with it at night. Yup, unwashed.

This deployment we were pretty excited to be given a Daddy Doll at a recent deployment briefing. The doll has way too much hair, so we’re bound to give it a trim.

Brooks also went out and got Little B a pair of dog tags made. He had the following saying inscribed on them:

I love you and you’re special,

I’m proud of you

and you’re mine.

It’s a play on what Krish Dhanam says to his son every night. After attending Camp Better America’s camp this past year, and hearing him speak, we were touched at this ritual they had and thought it would be a great way to remind Brooks daily of how near he is to his Daddy’s heart.

Lastly, a dear friend of mine put a link up on Facebook about a project she had seen elsewhere. A mother who had to leave her son from time to time decided to put her handprint on Shrinky Dink plastic and melt it down so her son could wear her handprint while she was away from him. We did the same, only we had both Brooks’ create handprints so they could each carry one with them.

I’d say we’re as ready as we’re going to be.

I refuse to think that sadness and tears are a sign of weakness. Although my heart is breaking, I’m ready to face this deployment with courage and strength, regardless of the amount of tears I shed.