When I first found out that Jeremiah was deploying, I sought out all the advice that I could find online. I was searching for a witty, tell it how it is blogger who would direct me through the next 12 months of my life.
Needless to say, I didn’t find that anywhere. The only advice I read over and over what, “Keep busy.” Every time I read that it was met with an eye roll. I felt like screaming, “DUH! Give me some real advice!”
Since surviving my first (and hopefully only) deployment, it’s true… stay busy…I wanted to share some of my favorite deployment projects that made things suck less for both of us.
1. “Open when….” cards
These included an entire stack of cards such as open when:
you can’t sleep
you miss Ed (his bicycle)- I put chain grease on the inside
you have a song stuck in your head
you make it to the afg
you feel like a PFC
you miss your momma
you need a kiss- kiss mark inside
you feel discouraged
you need a hug from grandma
you miss the beach – sand inside (like he needed more)
you’re tired of the chow hall
you want a graciepotomus (our dog) – a paw print stamped inside
2. Time zone clocks: I did this so I wouldn’t have to check my phone to figure out what time it was there and I found the cute card on etsy that was perfect. It said, “It’s not that far…really.”
3. Pillow case: I took this photo under the pier just down the road from our house and had it made into a pillow case on snapfish.com. When asking my patients, who are all Marines, what the best gift they ever got on deployment was, many said a personal pillow case.
4. Race shirt: I ran in the Run for the Warriors 5k this year. I love making shirts for races and I wanted a funny way to support my Marine. The saying on my shirt reads, “Run like your deployed Marine is at the finish.” Add some sparkly red ribbon and the shirt was perfect!
5. Care packages: I made at least one care package for every month. Many had a regular one and then one with baked goods. These are my three favorites.
– Michigan box: I went home for Memorial weekend and came back with a box full of Michigan made goodies to send my Marine. I lined the box with a Michigan map and wrote on the side, “Made in the mitten.” It included everything from a Tigers shirt to Trenary Toast. The box was a hit!
– Road Trip box: This is a box that I started right after he left and didn’t finish until June when I planned to send it out. I did this box themed off the road trip we took last year up the East Coast, into Canada, and back. I put stuff to make s’mores (marshmallow fluff, graham crackers, and chocolate spread) and some other stuff that reminded me of the trip.
– Mustache box: We kind of have a thing with mustaches. It started at the first ball we attended where I brought a mustache on a stick. From then it’s been everything from mustache socks to a mustache on his computer and everything inbetween. Anyways, this box was filled with cookies and had glow in the dark mustaches all over it. At the bottom I wrote, “My cookie stache.” Pretty witty I think… 🙂
6. Yellow ribbon wreath: One of my fellow deployment wives spent $30 on etsy to have this made and I decided I could make it for much less. I got a pool noodle (that I may or may not have found on the side of the road) and poked squares of yellow fabric all over it. The finishing touch was his name tape. A tedious project but it looks great on our front door!
I hope these ideas help some of you out when you are separated from your own loved ones, whether by long business trips or by deployments. We survived 8 months (instead of 12, thank God) and all I had to do was stay busy…