Saturday, November 12, 2011

YAH: Deployment Homecoming Ideas

(Picture taken the morning Dan deployed.)
In honor of Veterans' Day yesterday, I thought I'd show you a few things I made for my husband when he came back from his year-long deployment to Iraq. (If you've read my More About Me page you know we actually got married when he was home on his two-week leave.) But before I get to those, I want to share how I counted down the year. I knew counting the days would be too much for me, so instead I counted down the weeks. Fifty-two weeks seemed like nothing compared to 365 days. For Valentine's Day, 2009, Dan bought me a clock that had to be wound once a week.
It chimed every 15 minutes. I loved that. Every time it chimed, I would smile and think of him. Anyway, he made a little chart in the card and every time I wound it I would put an X in a box. After 52 X's, he'd be home! He left exactly one week later, so the very first time we wound it together and put the first X in. Once it got closer to his homecoming, I decided I could count down the days. So I made this game board and hung it on the wall at the bottom of the stairs.
The only reason I made it bright green and bright pink was because that's what I already had in my closet. But after I made it, I was glad I used such bright colors. I drew the path and cut out pink squares and triangles from poster board. Then I printed a bunch of army-themed clip art from a greeting card software program I have. I glued those all over the game board.
Then I used a picture of Dan's face and put it on the body of a cartoon soldier.
This was my game piece that I moved along the path. (I used that sticky blue stuff to keep it on the board.) Every morning when I woke up, I'd come down the stairs and move him one more space closer to home. And the best part was he came home about 1 week early, so toward the end I got to "jump ahead 8 spaces!"
OK, now onto the surprises I made for him. The first one was a banner that I had planned on hanging outside off the garage. Because it was winter, I knew I'd need something sturdy. (If it had been summer, I would have just used regular paper.) So I looked online and found cheap banners at Oriental Trading. I was worried about the quality, because their stuff is so cheap, but I was completely satisfied with what I got. I ordered a red vinyl banner and got it personalized.
It was nothing fancy, but I was still so happy with it. After receiving it in the mail, I added some pictures of us that I laminated. The day before Dan was to come home, I went outside to hang it up. Well, that nasty winter wind blew it down in 2 seconds. I ended up hanging it inside on the fireplace, under the clock he bought for me a year earlier.
I also made a candy bar card. This turned out so cool, but was a bit of work. I bought two big black foam boards from Michaels and taped them together to make a card. Then I bought all kinds of candy bars and printed out words on my computer and taped it all on the boards.
The hardest part was finding candy bars that fit with what I wanted to say. I found most in stores around town, but some I had to order online. It's amazing what you can find! The candy bar names weren't always perfect (plural when I needed singular, for example), but I think it worked out fine.

Over the next couple of months, we ate almost all the candy off the card! Well, wouldn't you?

1 comment:

Nancy said...

I am so glad he is home. I like your card and game. What a fun thing to do waiting for him to come home.