How To Make It Through Dinnertime With Two Toddlers Unscathed

Things were spiraling fast – food was being thrown on the floor (Benji), people were refusing to eat (Maddie) and everyone was on the verge of mania. A particularly rambunctious dinner time in the Wilhelm household, it was time to pull out my tricks. I sang all of our songs. I promised a fun tubby time. I pitted their eating skills against each other (Benjamin was winning). Finally, I broke out the big guns – a new book!

Daddy FliesDaddy Flies is the sweet story of Katie, a military brat, and her quest to figure out just what her daddy, an airman, does at work all day. Katie wonders across the pages with a darling sense of humor, one that my daughter Maddie (three years old) easily related to. The rhyming prose is effortless, without being too mature. The illustrations are simple but captivating. And when we reached the final page, as she swallowed her final bite of chili, Maddie shouted, “NOW AGAIN!” #winning

Thank you, Brye Butler Steeves, for giving our family a patriotic children’s book that hits close to home without being confusing or hokey (and that gets us through dinner time unscathed)! I can only hope that you make it a series covering all of the military bases (see what I did there)! Daddy Jumps: The story of a proud paratrooper papa, Brye?? Take it and run!!

*A copy of Daddy Flies was provided by the author for review purposes.

Was Your Great-Grandma Rosie The Riveter?

Military Heritage Wall During Andrew’s deployment, fueled by a surge of patriotism and in an effort to fill our home with more photos of our family, I created a military heritage wall. To begin, I reached out to my mom, my grandmother and my dad’s sister for information on my family’s military history. I was surprised to discover that I am a direct descendent of veterans of the Civil War, World War I (The Great War), World War II and the Korean War! Could we be any more patriotic!? I suppose the answer to this is yes. I could be related to Rose Will Monroe or George Patton or, dare I say it, George Washington! I am related to none of these great Americans, so far as I know. But back to the project…

I had my family scan and send me photos of my grandfathers and great-grandfathers — veterans of the US Army, US Army Air Corps, US Marines and US Coast Guard — which I then printed with Shutterfly. I spent a long long while in Hobby Lobby (with both of my children in a cart eating every snack ever created on the Earth) selecting individual frames for each photo, only to eventually decide that I should get matching frames. After a debacle trying to hang eight frames of varying sizes (take a moment to imagine me Pinteresting “gallery walls,” tapping and removing nails with wreckless abandon, snapping photos and texting them to my mom and sister for their opinion on my arrangements, more removing and tapping, some spackling, sanding and touching up), we now have the perfect tribute. I am so privileged to come from a line of such dedicated Americans.

Do you know your family’s military history? Was your great-grandmother Rosie The Riveter? Talk to your relatives NOW, while they can still remember the awesome stories of your ancestry! And then start Googling like crazy.

What Pre-Deployment Looked Like For Our Army Family

The morning he deployedPre-deployment was a painful but also really lovely time for our family. We put so much effort into making Andrew’s last days home fun and memory-filled (especially for Madeline), that they ended up being some of our best days yet. There were dance parties, snuggles, late bedtimes, tons of kisses, favorite foods, too many desserts, geography lessons, extra bedtime stories, tickle fights and daddy/daughter dates, plus quiet whispers in the dark, tears, hand-holding, I-love-yous and lots of photos and videos.Daddy and littlesDaddy and BabiesCrazy kids and DaddyThe impending deployment forced our family to focus inward during what could normally be a very frazzled, stressful and isolating time. And even though, today, we’re minus one here at home, we’re definitely stronger than ever.
The Wilhelm Family