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I think we can all agree that long-distance relationships are hard. Whether your spouse is on a weekend camping trip or across the ocean, time spent without them is no picnic. As a military spouse, I’d like to think the husband and I have had our fair share of separation and today I want to share with you a little about how we combat the separation blues and stay connected even during a long-distance relationship.
1) Write love letters to each other.
There’s just something about getting a letter in the mail from the one you love that gets your heart all a flutter. Way back in 2012, before we were married and when Zach was going through Army basic training, I remember waiting at the mailbox each day just hoping I’d get a letter from him. Receiving one was a major highlight of my day and his too (although he probably didn’t appreciate the “Notebook” stationery I wrote my letters on)!
If circumstances allow, try sending your sweetheart a letter, or even a small care package, during times of separation. Not only will snail mail lift your spirits while you’re away from each other, but you’ll also have a great keepsake. Zach and I still have all the letters we sent to each other during the three months he spent in basic and it’s so fun to have tangible reminders of that time in our lives.
2) Technology is your best friend–call each other on the phone and video chat as often as possible.
I honestly can’t imagine how hard it must have been to be a military family, or actually any separated family, before long-distance phone calls and video chats! Although sometimes service members just don’t have the ability to call or video chat during times of separation, often times they can and there’s nothing sweeter than hearing your husband’s voice over static or seeing their face on a tiny 4-inch screen.
Make it fun and have a mini-date night over video chat–set a time, get dressed up, and eat a meal ‘together’ from miles apart. If there’s something fun going on that you know your spouse would love to be a part of but can’t be, take a video for them and send it via phone or email. Sending photos and videos will help you both feel like you’re taking part in each other’s day and help you feel more connected despite the distance.
3) Have a little tradition just for the two of you.
It was around Valentine’s Day, a few weeks before Zach shipped off to basic, we were wandering through the holiday section of the store and I jokingly suggested to Zach that he should buy me a stuffed animal so I’d have something to hug while he was gone. He laughed and we continued on and I really didn’t think anything more about it. Until the next day, when I opened the door to find him holding the cutest stuffed puppy with a heart shaped nose that I ever did see.
It sounds a little silly and cheesy but Mr Pookie, as my stuffed pup came to be called, was a pretty constant companion during the first long stretch Zach and I spent apart. Mr Pookie made the journey with me from Wisconsin to Montana to plan the wedding, on the plane to Georgia to see Zach about a month before he graduated basic, and on a road trip with me again to Georgia for Zach’s graduation.
And just for a walk down memory lane, up above is a picture of Mr Pookie and I in Missouri and a photo of Mr Pookie riding atop a jackelope in South Dakota (yes a jackelope is a actual thing in South Dakota). He’s extremely well-traveled for a stuffed dog! And yes, before you ask, Mr Pookie did make the move with us to Hawaii too.
Recently though, I’ve been noticing that Mr Pookie is starting to show all the love I’ve given him over the past 4 years. His plush is stained with tears in some places, he’s lost a little stuffing and I may or may not have had to sew him up a time or two. I want to keep him in (fairly) good condition for any future kiddos Zach and I may have (because honestly how cute is it for a kid to have something from their parents’ love story) so I knew it was time for Mr Pookie to retire and a new pup to come on the scene.
Enter Mr Pookie 2.0.
I discovered CloudPets™ at Walmart and realized that a CloudPet™ would be perfect for a new Mr Pookie. The CloudPet™ is a new, one-of-a-kind product that keeps loved ones connected even when they’re far away. You simply download the free app to your phone, insert 3 AA batteries, and you can send messages from your phone to the stuffed animal. So now whenever Zach is gone, he can send a message from his phone and I’ll be able to play it through Sgt Pook (we changed the name a little so as not to hurt the original Mr Pookie’s feelings because we’re extremely considerate like that)!
Seriously, guys, this little dude is so cute! He and his pals–we got a puppy but bear, kitty, bunny, and unicorn varieties are also available–come with parental controls so, if you’re using this to keep your kiddos connected to a parent or other loved one, the app’s got you covered. If you want to see exactly how it works, check out this tutorial.
You can find CloudPets™ on a pallet display in selected Walmart stores (they’ll be available nationwide soon)–ps, don’t forget you’ll also need three AA batteries. CloudPets™ are such a fun way to combine tradition with technology and I can’t wait to use Sgt Pook the next time Zach is away.
Obviously your tradition doesn’t have to be a stuffed pet, but, you have to admit, it’s a super cute way to stay connected with your loved ones!
Do you have a tip for staying connected to your spouse or loved one during deployment or separation? Which CloudPets™ is your favorite?