Military Spouse Magazine

SEP 2018

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5 G O O D A D V I C E G r ow ing u p , m y f a m il y h a d t hi s " t hing " a b o u t b ir t h day s . No matter how old you were turning or what day of the week it was, everyone deserved (at least) a couple of balloons, a cake and a crowd. The crowd would consist of whatever family could make it, even if it was after work on a random night of the week. Military life can challenge these norms with sticky situations. Here's what to do: 5 Solutions For Sticky Birthday Party Situations By Tiffany Eve Lawrence, Marine Corps Spouse 1 2 3 4 DEPLOYMENT BIRTHDAYS Give your child a faux birthday with your military mem- ber while they are home. Choose a day when just the two of them can do something special together. But be sure to also celebrate on the big day! Hint: think of celebrating a "half-birthday" if a deployment falls on the actual day. PL ANNING A "PASSING -THROUGH" BIRTHDAY Little effort and lots of love. When you are on leave between duty stations and have a few days at "home," make some calls! Get your family and friends to- gether so they can celebrate with you. Even if your child's birthday falls somewhere around this time and not on an actual day that you're home, you can still make the most of them being close to everyone. No matter which transition you find yourselves in, find your thing that's a tradition for your family. That one thing that you do no matter where you are, whether it's decorating their room, getting them a ribbon to wear or letting them choose a special activity. Your kids will remember that they felt celebrated and loved no matter where the military sent your family. H WHEN YOU ARE THE NEW KID If you're not a social butterfly, you may have to come out of that cocoon for your military kid and get creative! Grab some cupcakes, bubbles and music and go to your neighborhood park. Bubbles to kids are like honey to bees, if you blow them they will come. Your kid will meet new friends and so will you! For older kids, make the day all about them by let- ting them choose all of the family activities. This is a great chance to explore; work on a birthday weekend bucket-list of activities you can try at your new home. INCLUDING LONG DISTANCE FRIENDS AND FAMILY My kids had very specific routines with their besties, so there are a couple ways to include them in the celebration: Create a favorite things box. For example, some of my kids' friends did library story time with us, Chick Fil-A play dates, and played dress up, so a fun gift could include a book, gift card to the restaurant, and maybe a tiara. And include a framed picture from your shared time together! Or ask that their bestie send them a handmade gift or something they picked out for them. FaceTime them opening the gift so their friend can see. Be sure to easily include far-away family by reminding them of your little ones birthday. They can send a gift and make lots of phone calls to hear that birthday song over and over the day. Some- times they need a gentle reminder to make the day special. A BIRTHDAY BEFORE OR DURING A PCS Take this opportunity to give your kids a last hoorah. Focus on the crowd for this birthday by getting as many of their friends in the room as possible. This is also a good time to have a "mini adult" gathering with your close friends who have been a part of your kids' lives at your duty station. Plan ahead to make sure it works with your budget. Get lots of pictures so they can always remember their good buddies being there to celebrating them. S H A R E YO U R ID E A S W I T H U S ! Do you have some fun birthday party pictures? Tag us on Instagram for a chance to have your image shared within our MilSpouse community! @militaryspousemag Photo by Candice Green 30 MILITARYSPOUSE.COM / SEPTEMBER 2018

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