Living It – Week Sixteen


Top Ten Lists – Tip #54

Our first few top tens!

Our first few top tens!

November has felt long and the grey days and cold temperatures haven’t helped.  I was, once again, looking for something to change things up a little and record a few of our thoughts, feelings and to help fill in the gaps for my husband as he does miss an awful lot and this is a fun way of filling him in.  This deployment has already been exhausting and I am trying hard to find things that are easy and fun to do together so… top ten lists began again.

Here are some titles of ones we have done (our top ten of top tens!) – 

* Top Ten Things We Miss About You

* Top Ten Most Annoying Things that Happened this Month

* Top Ten Best Things that Happened this Month

* Top Ten Terrible Meals We Have Eaten This Month

* Top Ten Movies We Want to See

* Top Ten Things We Are Looking Forward to

* Top Ten Animals We Wish We Could Have As Pets

* Top Ten Songs

* Top Ten Funniest Moments Since You’ve Been Gone

* Top Ten Junk Foods To Eat

Doing this together made us think about all the things we have survived, accomplished and got us thinking positively about the months to come – it was also super easy to put together (which is always a bonus!).  Deployments are life sucking and being able to sit back and laugh, plan and be positive about the future are no small feats when there is so many things that we could openly weep or get down in the dumps about!  Each week we are going to take a picture of them and by the end of the deployment we should have a book worth of top tens to talk or laugh about when their Dad gets home!

For more information about our tips, books and resources go to:  www.whileyouwereaway.org

Living It – Week 15


Listen – Tip #41

Using your ears!

Using your ears!

Active listening is a skill.  Some people are born with it, some people have to work hard on it and some people may never get it.  I am hopeful that I fall under the category of having to work on it rather than never getting it.  Having said that I am often shocked at how many people don’t really listen or give their 100% attention when people speak.  They are either thinking about what they are going to say next, thinking about all the things they have to do, or simply just watching the person’s lips move!

A few months ago I was stressed out, busy with work and trying to prepare for this deployment.  I found myself getting caught into the trap of not listening to my kids properly at least 75% of the time and multi-tasking when I should just been listening!  I began to realize that they were taking this to mean that I didn’t care.  Their Dad is a great listener so I always had him to fall back on if I was too tired or busy with work but now that he is deployed, I have made a commitment to be a much better listener and follow my own advice.

Tips:

* I have set aside time just to be with the kids uninterrupted (dinner time).

* I don’t answer the phone or even have it close by throughout dinner

* The TV and all devices are off

* I no longer multi-task the same way – even when I am making dinner I stop to listen more

My new tip for listening is also to try to be less reactive to what they are saying.  By doing this, I think that they are sharing more with me.  They are less and less worried about what my reaction is and more concerned with getting it off their chest.  I believe it is crucial that we know what is happening in our kid’s lives – the good, the bad and the ugly.  Our reactions determine whether they tell us more and things later on.

For more information on our tips, resources and books: www.whileyouwereaway.org

Living It – Week 13


Mapping Their Journey – Tip #76

World Map

I have not been great about living my own advice with this one.  When I wrote it a few years ago I was doing it but we have moved and not had another deployment until now so I had forgotten.  This week my kids started talking about where their Dad was and I quickly realized that they had no sense of where in the world he has been deployed to, how far it is, etc.  so I bought a map (there are also a ton of free printable maps online too).  We have been able to map out where their Dad is, how long it would take to get there, time zones, etc.  It was a good geography chat and I think it make them feel better too.  We have decided to now mark (with different coloured stickers) all the places that he has been, all the places that we have been as a family and then use a completely different coloured sticker to mark all the places that we would like to go.

When I taught at a base school (quite a few years ago now) we put up a map and attempted to run/walk the number of miles that it would take to get to Afghanistan in a school year.  It gave students a goal and a sense of distance they hadn’t considered before.

I am sorry but for safety reasons I won’t post my map right now.  

 For more information about our tips, resources, and books go to: www.whileyouwereaway.org

1001 Tips For Military Families – Tip #452


Daddy Dolls – Tip #452  

Chilling out by a cosy fire

Chilling out by a cosy fire

When my kids were younger they would have loved to have cuddled with a doll that had their Dad’s face on it.  I realized that they are older now and that might not be considered ‘cool’ but I still loved the idea of having something with his face on it to take on trips, to eat with us, to put into pictures and have fun with so… I ordered an Daddy Doll to have some fun with!  This doll is going to be on a lot of adventures with us while their Dad is away and we are going to keep track of them all through photos.  We have also started pinning ticket stubs, momentos, receipts, etc. onto the back of the doll.  When their Dad is back we will be able to talk about all the adventures our Daddy Doll went on while he was away.   It was $100 including shipping and taxes and has been one of the best things we have ever purchased for absences!

 

Texting together!

Texting together!

A day in the principal's office!

A day in the principal’s office!

For more information about our tips, books and resources go to: www.whileyouwereaway.org

Daddy Doll link: http://daddydolls.com/index.php?route=product/category&path=83

1001 Tips for Military Families – Tip #453


Responsibilities Chart

In our house can be painful trying to get my kids to lift a finger at times (okay, a lot of the time).  I am usually greeted with things like, “I have too much homework”, “I am so tired”, “_______ never does it.”.  It is frustrating and when my husband is away it leaves me to be the only one nagging which frequently sends me over the edge!  There was always a potential argument brewing about who walked the dog last, whose turn it is to empty the dishwasher, putting away their laundry, help with dinner, etc. until we started marking it all on a calendar I got in the after Christmas sales (you need to get one with big boxes for writing).  It is so exhausting having to ask and ask for things to be done that I am often tempted to do it myself to save the aggravation but I don’t want my kids to grow up believing that if you complain enough, someone will do it for you.

The only thing that has stopped the discussions (mostly) is our chore chart and dog walking schedule.  It is in the kitchen, written out for everyone to see so that we can avoid having a lengthy “debate”.  We make it together each month, agree it is fair before posting it up and stick to it whenever possible (my next goal is to work on teaching them to pitch in even when it isn’t written down or jump in when you see someone else is overwhelmed but I think that might need to be a long term goal!).

It has marked on it dog walking, their activities, help with dishes or dinner.

It stands out as we use different colours for things and I put it on the fridge as it is a high traffic area where everyone in the house goes regularly.

For more information about our resources, tips or books go to: www.whileyouwereaway.org

A whiteboard calendar will also work!

A whiteboard calendar will also work!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living It – Week 11


Hide Pictures – Tip #68

IMG_3064

This is advice of mine that I followed just last week.  I had my husband pull four faces as I snapped pictures and then had multiple copies printed of each.  I got card stock cutouts and spent a few minutes writing phrases, comments and requests and attaching them to the different faces of their Dad!  I not only had a big laugh doing it but already it has paid off!  There is one in the fridge reminding them to listen to me, one by the recycling asking them to take it out, one in the linen closet reminding them to put their laundry away, there are ones in their rooms telling them how much they are loved and I have even hidden some in winter coat pockets for them to find in a few weeks time.  There have already been several smiles and laughs about it.  It is just another fun way of reminding them they are loved, that he is never too far away and that he can nag too!

FullSizeRender (4)

This one is in the bathroom on the inside of the cupboard – I hear giggles on a regular basis!

 

For more information about our tips, blog and resources please go to:  www.whileyouwereaway.org

Living It – Week 10


 Display Photos – Tip #22

This week the  Living It advice I am taking from my tips books is about displaying pictures (not just selfishly enjoying them on my IPhone!). My husband is leaving this week for a longer deployment.  I have taken a few deep breaths, eaten my body weight in chocolate, went to look at all of my own advice for preparing for a deployment, have kept my pre-deployment checklist close by (see tip #449 on the blog) and then asked for help.  In the past we have had a little more notice so there was time to do more to prepare.  This time we have days to prepare so I had to prioritize what was important – photos came first.  We hadn’t had proper family photos taken in a couple of years so I asked a family friend to come and take some – he was amazing and dropped everything to come and do this for us and they are fabulous (another tip – I printed out more than I needed so that they were ready to give as Christmas presents too!).  I then went out immediately and had them printed and got frames right away.  I know myself – if I waited a few days it would never get done.   They will be displayed in high traffic areas and I have printed out a variety to also put on the fridge.  I also made sure we had some funny ones that are really “us” to put up (and send with him) as those are true to who we are and I want the kids to remember to laugh every day and my husband will then have something to laugh about while he is away too.

 

Our 'real' family photo!

Our ‘real’ family photo! For more information about our resources, tips and books go to: www.whileyouwereaway.org

 

Us being us!

Us being us!

 

For more information about our resources, tips and books go to: www.whileyouwereaway.org

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,128 other followers