It’s that time for us that all military families dread: deployment is upon us. Radar will be leaving before we know it to spend 7 months in Japan. This is our 2nd deployment with the squadron to the same place. Last time he went, Monster was only 2 months old… this time it’s a whole new game with a 2 year old and a 10 month old! To help Monster and Peach remember their Daddy, and to help us all track the time as it passes, I’ve put together a “deployment wall.”
Most of the parts were pretty easy to put together, and I think it turned out pretty nice, if I do say so myself!
- At the center is a photo collage (only $15 at Walmart) to help the little ones remember the good memories they have with Daddy. I plan to update these pictures while he is gone with photos of him having adventures.
- I included a clock for each country; at this time of year, they’re 12 hours apart so it seems a little silly, but after daylight savings it will be 13 hours, and when Radar goes on detachments to other countries (in other time zones) it will be nice to have that constant reminder that it’s 5am where he is, and not a good time to call!
- Then I made a calendar that Monster and Peach will get to put a sticker on before bed every night to mark the passage of each day. I’ll also be adding big trips and whatnot that we plan to go on, so instead of one long stretch of time, it will highlight all the fun adventures we’ll be having here!
- And lastly, I want to keep a box going all the time for things to send to Radar, from the kids’ artwork to whatever he has requested, so nothing gets forgotten when it’s time to mail it.
So after a long explanation, here’s the finished product:
To make the pennant banner, I bought some burlap on a roll from Walmart. I cut it into about 6-inch-long segments, then split each in half along the diagonal. This didn’t quite make the isosceles triangles I wanted (yes, I’m a math and science teacher), so I cut the top so the two other sides were equal in length. I made 12 total with this same method. Then I got some foam stickers on sale at Joann’s during Memorial Day and used them to create patterns on the burlap. It doesn’t matter what color they are, just that they stick temporarily. Then I took them outside and used red and blue spray paint to color the pennants, and finally removed the stickers! To put it all together, I used some navy blue paracord we had on hand – but any cord or string will do. I tied a knot in each end and hot glued the pennants to the cord, then used pushpins to stick them up on the wall. Not too hard, but gives a neat effect!
I over-engineered the clocks a little… but I couldn’t help myself, I’m a perfectionist! The clocks are just the cheapies from Walmart. I used my Silhouette to cut out the flags with a little hole in the center (for the part that holds the arms) and a slit (to get it onto the clock). I used the registration marks feature on the Silhouette software to make each flag perfect (I’ll post a tutorial on doing this at a later time – in the meantime, there are tons of resources out there to help you try it out!). Each clock had some screws on the back that allowed me to pull of the glass to add my flags. You can find the Silhouette file here.
For the poster, I downloaded a simple pdf calendar for the date range I needed here. I printed it at 50% and glued it onto a posterboard. I used the BodieMF Flag font for the poster heading. For the mail sign, I used the KG Uncle Sam font.
And that’s it! Just FYI, USPS offers these large flat rate boxes that are especially for APO/FPO addresses… a regular one will work, but it’s nice to have one that’s easy to fill out! And don’t forget your customs form!
I found a ton of other deployment wall ideas online; check out my Military Life board on Pinterest for more inspiration, from care packages to general information.
One more thing I want to add before I sign off, is you need to consider your kids. One of the other wives in our squadron recently pointed out that for older kids, being constantly reminded that Daddy (or Mommy) is gone can be detrimental, despite your good intentions. Because my kids are so young, I am going to be working hard to help them remember Daddy; also, time passes without quantity for them, so they don’t remember whether it’s been 1 month or 6 since he left. While a deployment wall may be great for you, it may make things harder for your children – so just do what works for your family!
If you are part of a military family, I hope your deployments pass quickly and safely!!