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Ideas to Help My Son Remember His Daddy

My husband is entering the Army and will be going to Boot Camp and training in April. He will be gone approximately 7 months, but maybe longer. I was wondering if anyone had any great ideas of something I can do, or my husband before he leaves, for something that will help my 2 year old remember his Daddy and help him feel like he's not completely gone. (I don't think he'll really forget him, but just something that will help him feel like his daddy is still here and will be coming home...) And as well, something for my 9 week old baby girl, so she doesn't freak out when daddy does come home from 'stranger danger'. ... I have heard of making a movie of daddy reading books to the kids, but was wondering if you have any other suggestions? :) Thanks!!

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Another good way so that he remembers his voice is have him do a Build A Bear! My sister did this before her husband left to camp for her 2 year old. He chose the favorite animal he wanted and than his dad said I Love you Thomas on it! Way cute and helped a ton when he wanted it :)....

Two words - web cam. If you have a Mac, webcams are wonderful. My almost two year old daughter talks to my parents and grandparents who are in a different state all the time, and to my husband when he goes away on business. It's a wonderful way to stay connected.

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if you have a tape recorder, have daddy read some books on tape, then he could still "read him a bedtime story every night"
or you can do it on a cam corder also.
good luck,
and thank your husband for us!!!

Get some books he loves, record your husband reading them. So at night before bedtime you can play that, turn the pages with your son like your hubby is right there reading to him. Also take one of your hubbys tshirts and make it into a pillow, it can be a "daddy pillow". Then make a picture album just for your son. You can get kid type ones where they cannot mess up the pictures, they are in plastic type thing. That way he can look at his dad whenever he wants.
If it helps, my ex moved out of state when my son was almost 1, every visit which can be 6 or more months apart my son welcomes him like he saw him yesterday. The first few years it took a few minutes to warm up again but my son adjusted and never forgot who his daddy was.

Your baby will be fine, it will be a transition when your husband comes back being she is so little but showing her pictures letting her hear his voice it won't take anytime for her to know it is daddy.
Hugs, God Bless your husband and tell him we appreciate him sacrificing so much for our freedom!

I was going to suggest the daddy doll, but see that someone already has. I haven't personally experienced it but I worked at a base day care and one of the little girls has one. She even brought it to school and slept with it during nap. The other thing I know of is the Flat Daddy. It is a lifesize portrait that can be put anywhere. http://imalreadyhome.com/flatdaddy.htm

Good luck!

I feel for you. My husband was in Iraq when my son had just turned one. Set up a ton of pictures on the computer. We had a slide show that my husband send me pictures to add to. WE made art projects to send him and always talked about him. I got Avery note cards and would print pictures from around the house to send to my husband. This was more for me and him but my son liked helping pick out pictures (the cats, house, dog and of course the kids). I printed out labels and got stamps so they were all ready to go. I would go over to my parents house and print out about 10 at a time, each with a different picture. I would then write a short note each day when I saw the mailman start on our street. This helped me and my husband a LOT. It was very easy to do because they were all ready to go. Good luck and know that this too will pass.

On Snapfish, you can make little flipbooks. When we went out of town a few months ago, I made one with a little story with us with my daughter that she read every night. It was a great hit!

Prayers for your husband & your family.

Something I did to help my kids stay close to grandparents, aunts/uncles/cousins that lived in other states was to make "photo" dolls. Take several close up shots of your husband, some full body, different poses, etc. (& family memebers not near, have them send you some). Laminate them & glue a magnet on the back. Place them on the fridge at his eye level. He will have him/them in constant view & can play with them, talk, etc. Several of my friends did this & loved the relationship that just kept going. It is also very fun to listen in on the conversations they have, you learn a lot about their view of things. Hope this hepls.

My father was in the Air Force and was deployed when I was 5, my brother was 4 and my sister was still on the way. He brought a tape recorder with him and would read books for us or tell us stories that he used to send to us. While technology wasn't quite up to what it is today it was comforting to hear his voice - he would tell us special memories and ask if we have been good for mommy. Now days you can get even more creative. You can purchase a Flip video recorder (Check it out on line) which will give you 60 minutes of digital recordings. (You can download and then re-recored for unlimited videos.) That way he can either video a bunch of stories prior to his deployment or have one of his buddies do it for him while he is away (or both!) They are easily downloadable to a laptop and althought the quality isn't superiour the kids will get a special story from daddy.

Good luck and thank you for his service!!!

K.

My cousins were in the same situation. She put a picture of Daddy in both is formal in informal uniforms (so the kids would know what he looked like when he returned)right by the door and by the bed. Everytime they left the house and came back they would say Hi and Bie to daddy. And they would all say good night as well. It helped that Daddy was able to call every once in a while, Mom kept him up on what was happening with the kids so Daddy knew that the kids went to the park etc. Good Luck!

L.,

I am a photographer and belong to an awesome organization called Operation Love ReUnited. We donate our time to military families by offering up to two free photo sessions a year and sending a free photo book to the deployed military member. You can then purchase any photos you want but are under no obligation to do so. Anything in addition to this is up to the individual photographer. I have given kids photo dog tags that they can wear like daddy or their own books for free as well. Just depends on the family and your individual photographer. If you are interested to see if there is a photographer in your area just check www.oplove.org and enter your zip code. I am a former military wife and can totally relate. That's why this is such a passion for me to give back! Tell your husband THANK YOU!

I see you've gotten a lot of good ideas. I can't read them all but wanted to add one: Daddy Dolls from www.hugahero.com. I have a friend whose daughter LOVED her daddy doll & used to carry it everywhere.

The site also has a link for 'separation tips' with a huge list of ideas in case you don't get what you're looking for here.

Good luck & thanks to you and your whole family for the sacrifices you're making for the rest of us!

Mom, they will both be fine. (And not that you've asked, but you will be as well-just don't forget to take care of you or you'll be no good to them while Dad's gone.)
I had a 2 year old when Dad deployed the first time & had a 2 year old plus a 3 month old by the time he came back. He did a BUILD-A-BEAR for each of our boys, including the one on the way. (I took a picture of Daddy in uniform & the bear to deliver our youngest & played Daddy's voice for him every day-the voicebox in his lasted nearly 3 years.) By the time Dad got home from the deployment his son knew his voice-the funniest thing was watching him trying to figure out where the voice was coming from (since his bear was nowhere in sight).
I do know that your soldier will be able to receive mail, so SEND LETTERS/PICTURES they draw as often as you're able (baby can hold a crayon & scribble too). He'll be gone for Father's Day so SEND SOMETHING SPECIAL-AND SMALL-I traced our 2 year old's hands & in the middle of those I drew a picture of in-utero hands the same age as our unborn baby.
HAVE DAD WRITE OUT SOME LETTERS OR LITTLE CARDS for them before he goes & bring a new one out every so often (in case he's not able to mail things out often during school).
I took PICTURES OF DAD & CHILD on the night before he left for deployments both times & we FRAMED THEM (4x6). We had the pictures in the living room, along w/a heart-shaped CLOCK SET TO DADDY'S TIME where he was.
Our younger two were 2.5 & 5 when Daddy deployed the second time & with the pictures we took, talking about him constantly, & writing/receiving letters, we had no problems with them not remembering Daddy when he got back.
Oh, & hubby took mid-tour leave the second time-the boys had a list of things they wanted to do with him over that time period (camping in the backyard,"taking us out to dinner"-with our money in their wallets, going to a baseball game, going to see Cars at the theater). Your 2 year old will be able to help you MAKE A LIST OF THINGS HE/WE WANTS TO DO WITH DADDY when Daddy comes home-help him keep it reasonable & put it somewhere you can look at it often.
We also had a regular CALENDAR JUST FOR DADDY-I wrote the number of months left til he was due back each deployment as big as the calendar page permitted. I wrote 12 across the month he left, 11 on the next month, etc.
Most everywhere has KID-PROOF PHOTO ALBUMS in the baby section, they're the vinyl book style w/plastic sleeves to insert pics into. Both of my boys had one to carry around full of Daddy & Me pics.
The boys slept with one of DADDY'S DIRTY (not nasty but one he'd worn) T-SHIRTS so they could feel like they were cuddling w/him. Mommy just refreshed them now & then w/his "man spray" so it would keep smelling like him. ;)
They won't forget him, trust me. Just keep him in conversation & pull out pictures of him often.
As for the calendar, since you don't know definitely how long he'll be gone, count down from 9 or 10 months-if Daddy comes home before that, it's a complete bonus for your son.
And most of all, don't forget to talk about how you get sad sometimes when Daddy's gone, how you get angry that he's missing out on "fill in the blank", how you can't wait to hold his hand/eat dinner/watch a movie with him when he gets home. Your older child will act up, test to see if the same rules apply when Daddy's gone, & not understand what's going on really. Look online for books on separation (especially military) & check out/buy a few. As long as you make it clear it's okay to be mad, sad, etc, your son will be better able to cope w/what's going on.
www.myarmylifetoo.com is a good place to start looking for resources.
Best of luck to you! We've been doing this for 13 years & he'll be retiring from the Army. It's a hard life, but I honestly believe it's helped to make us better people & will help our sons become better adults.

Another good way so that he remembers his voice is have him do a Build A Bear! My sister did this before her husband left to camp for her 2 year old. He chose the favorite animal he wanted and than his dad said I Love you Thomas on it! Way cute and helped a ton when he wanted it :)....

Can your husband sit down and record little video clips? Of him reading a story to the kids, talking, etc? That way they get to hear his voice and also see him.

Hi L. my husband has been in for 26 years so we have had many times he has been gone from our kids. When he deployed we had him make a bear from Build A Bear and recorded his voice in each for the two kids. It was a message just for them that they could listen to whenever they wanted. My husband also did the reading to them but he also bought a special book just for each of them where he wrote them a message in it. I would also make a scrap book filled with family pictures and some with just him and the kids. I also have a picture of him on each of their night stands so they see him when they go to bed and when they get up in the morning. My kids also chose a shirt from dads closet that they would sleep with. We always talk about what dad would like or if his favorite team was playing we would watch the game to cheer them on for him. Also communication is big whenever he gets to call make sure the kids get to hear his voice and if he gets to email ask him to email something to each child just for them. If you are near a base you can look into activities that you and the kids can do. Being with other military families will help you and the kids so they will see they aren't the only ones who have a dad that is not with them.
Hope this helps a little.
Good luck and tell him thank you for serving.

My hubby is also in the army and my oldest is 2. So I made her a "Daddy book" which is just a little photo album full of pictures of just her and him. It's really cute and she loves to take it out and look through it. Also you could go to one of those build a bear stores and make a teddy bear and have your husband do the voice recording. So then your son can have something soft to cuddle and be able to hear his dad's voice. Good luck to you and your family. IT is so hard being away from one another. My husband has already done boot camp but he is gone again for 2 months. So I know you feel. Hang in there.

I am the project director for Blankets for Deployed Daddies. We have a group of volunteers around the world who make special blankets for our brave soldier daddies. They are free to any serviceman or woman. The blanket is designed to be lovey sized, and is made of a cotton/acrylic blend that is specially made to hold the parent's scent for the longest time. I have reports of the blankets remaining fragrant for up to 3 months. Young children bond through their sense of smell, and we find that babies and young children who get a chance to smell their father's scent are more calm, sleep better, and more readily recognize him after a separation. We have a lot of research on our website, and you can also request a blanket there. I'd encourage you to request one. While they are designed for soldiers overseas, the basic training separation is actually more difficult because of the limited contact you'll be able to have. When you make your request, please mention mamasource and I will make sure we get a blanket out to you, hopefully before he leaves!

www.blanketsfordeployeddaddies.com

What about making a picture book of all you guys together to read at bedtime? You could buy and album, but I have also seen this done on the cheap just by sticking pictures into ziplock bags and stapling the edges together.

First of all Thank you and your husband! My son has a photo book of family members we don't get to see on a regular basis and he loves it. He's learned all their names and recognises them when we do get to see them. We also have videos that he enjoys watching. He particularly likes video and pictures that have him in them as well. So it would be a good idea to take some time to get video and pictures of all of you having fun together. Best Wishes and God Bless.

Hi L.,

Just so everyone on here knows, when people are at boot camp, THEY ONLY GET ONE 10 MIN PHONE CALL PER WEEK! And there is NO EMAIL OR INTERNET! So webcams and all of that can maybe apply when he is at AT.

When my husband did boot camp, my kids had no problem remembering him after he came back. The video of him reading stories did not actually work and they would become angry and refuse to watch it. A lot of my military friends have had the same problem. I also made a paper chain countdown and after a while they got so mad and frustrated that they ripped it up! Ha ha! Your kids will be confused as to why he is gone.

Okay, on the positive side, I think it really, really helps for them to make him things like care packages and draw him pictures. And also, something special of his that he has left behind that they have to take care of for him. Tell them they are in charge of taking care of daddy's dog or daddy's watch or something.

I think everyone here has great suggestions but don't be surprised to see some anger and regression in your kid's behavior. See if you can join a "Family Readiness Group" of wives through the army. It is really, really nice to hang out with other moms of little kids that have spouses in the military, because they know what you are going through and you can get together all the time and hang out. It helps you as a mom feel more supported and less crazy.

Also, you have to baby yourself so you can baby your kids. And tell your kids every day that they are lucky to have a hero for a daddy!

Hugs,

M.

When my dad was overseas, he made my little brother and sister videos of him reading bedtime stories so they could watch them at night and he "read" their nighttime stories to them before bed. He also has an incredible voice, so he recorded all their favorite songs that they could play as they went to sleep at night. I'm hoping he does it for my son when he leaves for Afganistan in July.

Now adays, Skype.com is wonderful if you have a webcam...free and easy to use! That is the only way my dad is going to meet his new grandchild when he/she comes in Aug. It will also be a way where he can see the milestones your daughter hits without missing them. Also record lots of the kids playing and post them to the web or e-mail them occasionally. He can do the same of things he is doing where he is at. Have him send pictures of himself doing fun things in a care package with little gifts occasionally too (you can prepare those ahead of time for him and have him upload photos that you can go pick up at Walgreens or Walmart since he will be busy and not able to get out all the time...then just pull a box out of the closet every couple of weeks and pretend they came in the mail from daddy...then send one to Dad that your son helps create with pictures of you guys.) Hope I gave you something to work with.

My husband went into Basic Training when my son was 1 yr. All we did was put a framed picture of my husband in the living room and in the morning we would say "Good Morning Daddy!" and give the picture a kiss. Then at night we'd tell "daddy" good night and give the picture a kiss again. The only other thing we did was just talk about him a lot like "Daddy wears camo now huh?" or "Remember when daddy did such and such..." Ask your 2 yr old how he feels and if he misses his dad. The Army has been such a blessing in our lives, I hope it is the same for yours! Good luck! (a little advice for you: go hang out at people's houses ALOT if you have friends and family nearby. If not contact someone at the armory or base and they should have a Family Readiness Group. This will keep you informed as to what's going on and it's a good place to make friends)

Two words - web cam. If you have a Mac, webcams are wonderful. My almost two year old daughter talks to my parents and grandparents who are in a different state all the time, and to my husband when he goes away on business. It's a wonderful way to stay connected.

The movie is the biggest thing I can think of because they'll be able to see and hear him! He could read different books, sing songs, or just put different messages on there for different occasions (ie. if he'll be missing birthday's, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, ect.). He could, of course, write them letters either before he leaves and/or while he's away. He could draw them pictures. Also, try to take pictures of him holding them and doing things with them and you can make a collage of the pictures and hang it on a wall that they can see every day. You can talk about the pictures whenever they need a daddy fix! Do you (and will he) have access to a web cam? They are fairly cheap if you need to buy two of them and you can talk for free to each other if you sign up on oovoo.com.

I hope this helps and good luck! I know it will be hard being away from each other....

This will be a big transition, but I know you'll get lots of good ideas and be able to tackle this as an adventure.
Consider making a survey for the people in your family to take about favorites, such as fovarite colors, foods, music, etc. Then while your hubby is gone you can often refer to his favorites and acknowledge them often, so he's still a person they feel like they know. Like, "We're having lasagna tonight. That's one of dad's favorite dinners. Do you guys like lasagna, too?" or "Let's go choose some of your favorite treats and some of dad's favorite treats to send to him" or "Let's make some pictures for dad. He loves the color blue, so let's add lots of blue." And notes going the other way, too, so your husband still knows his children-- like sending a collage of magazine pictures the kids have helped make that shows things they like, such as dogs or cars or monkeys or whaever, so they can say "Here's what I've been thinking about and working on, dad." That sort of thing. Perhaps it's corny, but I think you need a few ideas that are not technologically-oriented since those luxuries are not aways available. Best wishes to you!

you might think about a notebook with pictures in page protectors that he could look at when he wanted -- esp pics of him and dad

Sorry I don't remember the company that makes them, but there is a company that makes "daddy dolls" for kids with deployed parents. I had thought about getting one for my daughter when my husband had to go temporary duty last year (he's Air Force). You send a photo to them and they make a doll in uniform for the kids to hold. The video really worked well, I will tell you that. We had Dad record a ton of stories and our daughter would watch one before she went to bed or when she was really missing Daddy. The most important thing for us was letting her get on the phone when he called. Even if it was just for a couple minutes, that way she could at least hear his voice. That seemed to really help. She knew Daddy was "at work" and he would be home soon. My husband would also send cards addressed to our daughter, not me, so she got her own mail from Daddy. That made her feel important. lol. It can be really hard to deal with for you too, so just know that you are not alone! Hope you find some suggestions that help and good luck.

We took pictures of things that my husband and son did together and made a kind of scrapbook. The one I made was really simple. I just printed the pictures on multipurpose paper and put them in sheet protectors in a 3 ring binder. I printed words describing the pictures so that anyone else could read it to him too. If your son can talk he can help you decide what captions to write. This book has been very meaningful to my son and helped him a lot during a time that my husband was either working or sleeping for most of our son's waking hours. He cried at night because he missed his dad and the book helped calm him. Or when I was nursing the baby and he would start acting out, I'd tell him to sit down by me with his "Daddy and Me" book and that would often help as well.

Buy one of those photo display things that hang on a door knob from One Step Ahead....Have photos of them with daddy in it, plus have daddy send photos while he is gone...Kiss daddy good morning and good night everyday and let the 2 1/2 year old mark the day off the calender. Also they have Daddy dolls that are made with a photo of daddy on it, I would highly recommend those you can even record daddy saying something in it.....Ask family services where you can get one. If you can't find out, let me know my friend bought one last year.

Oh, most importantly LOTS OF PLAYDATES AND TIME WITH OTHER FAMILIES AND DADS, UNCLES, ETC. It will help with your sanity and keep you and your kids active and social.

Hang in there, I understand....I have been there but my son was 12months old and I was 4 months pregnant when he left......The adjustment was fine, my son "remembered" Daddy enough to run to him and be picked up at the airport! My daughter was only 3 weeks old, so I can't say how your daughter will react, but make a big deal out of the doll and the photo thing daily!

Rochelle

When my cousin's husband was being deployed to Iraq the first time his son was about 7 months old. I bought them a Parents toy cell phone that had the ability to record 4 phrases. The dad was then able to say Hello, I love you, I miss you, I can't wait to see you again, and the baby became familiar with his voice and had a great time playing with a toy. For your older child, see if your husband will be able to use a web cam occassionally. My mom lives in Michigan and with our schedules we don't often live chat, but we make videos. My mom has now seen my daughter sing, dance, count, and wish her happy valentine's day (we got it for her as a Christmas gift and it was a big hit). In turn my mom has been able to say happy birthday, show off a new hair cut, read a story and sing a song. My 2 year old just loves it and asks to watch them again and again. I hope this helps. Good luck and God bless you and your family.

Videotape your hubby interacting with the kids. Have him say things to the kids like, "Daddy loves you" or those kinds of things. This could be something extra special for your two-year old to watch while he is away. This may help both of the kids remember him.

You could also do small audio recordings. Maybe Daddy reads one of his favorite books and you play that back to your two-year old while reading his favorite book before bed. You could also audio record small, special audio recordings like Daddy saying good morning or good night, etc.

Also, you could make a memory photo book. Nothing fancy but simple snapshots of fun times together. You can help him remember special times, events, memories with his dad. Baby Einstein makes a cool photo album for teething babies. We used it for our baby girl to help remember grandma and other relatives who live in a different state. It really works!

Thankfully, we've never had to go through such a long separation - thank you for your sacrifice as an Army wife! My husband did travel a lot for work with his old job, though, and for a while there my daughter would freak out every time he came home. I found that frequently showing her a photo of him helped a lot. I did it during feedings (at that point she was a bottle baby so it was pretty easy) so there would be a positive connotation. There may be free services out there that can help you do things like make videos and such. I can't remember the name of it, but there's an organization out there that's supposed to help Army families, especially when you don't live on or near a base. Make sure you sign up for whatever Army support you can, and good luck!

Hi!

One thing you could do is go to Build a Bear and have your husband record his voice and put them in a stuffed animal for each of your kids so they can hear his voice whenever they feel like it. It is something that we did for my daughter when we went on vacation without her dad so she felt like he was there. She still plays with her "daddy" bear. Good luck!

saw you had some of these but this is what we do
1. build a bear animal with daddy recorded on it just for child
2. pillowcase daddy wrote on and my dd drew on with daddy's pic on it (this one is new this time)
3. DVD recordings of daddy reading her bedtime stories and singing her favorite songs to her. I can use during the day at stressful times and at night as part of bedtime routine so daddy can be part of that. sometimes he can be on the phone when she is up othertimes not, so we go for what we can. the dvd's help a lot.
part way through he makes some new ones and sends them to her as well. I am planning on sending him a couple of books to read this time to record and send the books back to her with the DVD as a present from Daddy.
He'll pick them out before he leaves.
3. making pictures and taking pictures of making pictures she loved mailing those ones last time.
4. talking about it. you know they are missing dad and some of my freinds just avoid the topic but I can't, I help her process that she misses daddy and that he misses her too and he wants to come home soon.

those are some things that have worked well.

also having something you child can be involved in, mom and tots class or something to help keep you both busy and interracting with other people

most important, find someone who once a week can watch both your kids so you get a couple of hours to yourself. during this time you don't clean the house. you don't run errands. You spend time doing something you can't when you have the kids, like taking a long bath or shower. wandering around a book store, or craft store, going to get a coffee or tea and enjoying it by yourself or with a girlfriend (no kids allowed) reading a book or watching Tyra...whatever will help you find peace and balance and give you some you time. it will help you not be so frazzled and when the kids see mom calm and put together they feel things really are pretty normal, dad's just at work far away for a while. it will do wonders for you and for the kidsies.
Hang in there--we get through it.

My husband deployed when my daughter was born. Besides the photos around the house I put an enlarged photo of him over the changing table so I know she saw him everyday. Good luck! Millitary life is not easy on families. It will take extra work on both of your parts.

My husband left for Iraq when my son was 2 1/2 and my daughter was 4 months. Before he left we made alot of home movies. We made sure there were alot of them with him interacting with the kids. We even recorded stuff we wouldn't normally record, like playing at the park or games. We also took of alot of picts, both family and just him with them. I laminated them so that the kids could play with them and carry them around. My husband even recorded a couple of hours worth of him reading tem their favorite stories. My kids watched a home movie almost every day that he was gone. They almost always had a picture with them. We talked about him alot. We had a maps on the walls to help them see where he was and where they were. My husband also wrote to them almost every day, sometimes he would just draw a pict, but they loved it. When he came home, my daughter (1 1/2 at the time), knew exactly who he was. My son was alittle bitter because of th long abscence but after a week he was enjoying having dad home again.

Hi L.! First of all, thank you and your husband for the sacrifices you have made and will be making for the decision to join the Army and serve our country. When you have a family, it is a decision that requires a lot of commitment from the whole family. My husband just graduated from Army Basic Training last week and went on to AIT, so my little family is about halfway through the exact same thing you're about to embark upon.

My husband has been gone for 3 months and will be in AIT for another 3.5 months. So far my 3 year old hasn't had any issues with his daddy being gone. I just try to make sure I have a lot of conversations about him throughout the day. ("What do you think daddy is doing right now?" "Guess what? Daddy loves you so much!", etc.) After a couple weeks my husband was able to write and wrote at least twice a week, so in turn, we wrote as well. My son and I drew pictures together to send to daddy and we looked at photo albums of special times we've all had together. I do think that a video would be a really great idea too (a video of him doing something they do together like reading stories or singing silly songs). That would probably help your baby girl feel comfortable when her daddy comes home too. She'll recognize the sound of his voice. Honestly, my son has been so busy just being a little boy that not much has really changed for him. I think my husband has a tougher time coping with it than our son does!

I really wish you the best of luck because at times it can be extremely emotional. I consider myself to be a very strong person mentally, but there still have been days where I am emotionally drained. I hope that you have a great network of family and friends nearby because there will be times that you'll need it.

For me personally, I decided to join a little running group to train for a half marathon. It has helped me immensely to stay positive and just get out of the house and away from daily chores that can become monotanous and draining. Plus I get the added bonus of physically keeping up with my hubby so I was as buff as he was when I got to see him at BT graduation:)

Please feel free to contact me if you ever need to chat:) I'm sort of new to this as well, but everyday it gets easier. PS...for us, writing letters has been a very personal way to communicate, very romantic. I really feel that our marriage is even stronger than before because of our separation.

Best of luck,
Kelli

I think a scrapbook of your children with their daddy is a great idea. Something that they can look through that is their own. I would include things in the scrapbook like dad's favorites page with his favorite food, book, movie, things to do with the kids, etc.

I also think the video or DVD of him doing activities with the kids and maybe just a voice recording of him reading or singing to the kids, that you could play at bedtime.

I don't know how much contact you will have with him through email, etc, but I would make sure to let the kids see his emails, or letters or hear his phone calls, etc whenever he calls or contacts you.

Another fun thing might be for him to write little notes or wrap small gifts for your kids before he leaves that you can pull out every once and a while to let them open as a surprise from daddy. If you have these in advance then he doesn't have to worry about sending things while he is away.

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