Deployment lessons: gift giving

I learn a lot during deployments. I learn a lot about my husband, our relationship, and myself. I also learn little things along the way that I wouldn't normally think about if my husband were home.

During Stryker's first deployment, I learned to be creative with gift giving during holidays and birthdays. Gone to the wayside are the "traditional" gift ideas. The guys aren't exactly wearing cologne and dress watches over there. There are few things they need, and toiletries don't exactly top the "best gift" list. I have found that sentimental gifts and baked goodies are the best gifts during deployments. I have also learned that finding the perfect card is nearly impossible. "And tonight, when we gaze into each other's eyes..." well that one's out. In a store of thousands of cards, why aren't there any for people who are still in love but not physically together during the special events in their lives?

So, for our upcoming anniversary, I decided to make Stryker a movie. I dug through all...all, of our pictures and found the best ones of us and the different memories we have made over the years. Most of them were actual printed pictures, either from before we had digital cameras or were deleted from the computer. I scanned them all, threw them together on the movie maker, then added some songs to play in the background while our love story floated across the screen.

I spent hours on this project, because when I finished it, the songs didn't play. After much struggle, the quick fix was just changing the song format.

The goodies are chocolate cupcakes with white chocolate chips, although they look more like brownies than cupcakes. The recipe says they keep for up to a month. Sounds crazy, but hopefully true! Not that they will last a month. I give them 3 days once they get to Stryker. I almost always include goodies when I send him a package, and apparently whenever he gets a package everyone stands around when he opens it. So wives/girlfriends/fiancees/moms...get baking! Just be warned that the goodies you send that are the most time consuming to make, will be the favorite, and then you get requests for said putzy goodies.