The Stars Apart

http://www.thestarsapart.com

A blog about life as a military spouse, bereaved mother, dog lover, international travel, knitting, etc.

Lisa is a winner of Top 25 Military Moms - 2013

What's a tip for celebrating a holiday or milestone with your kids when your partner isn't able to be there?

Since our only child has passed away, it's hard to apply this question to our lives. However, since my husband and I have been apart for nearly five months now, I've had to go through a lot of the 'first' milestones since Finley died - his first birthday, the anniversary of his death, anniversary of his funeral, etc.

My best advice for anyone having to spend extended periods of time without their spouse is to try and surround yourself by loved ones as much as possible. Don't try and carry the burden alone - ask for help if you need it.

I've found that a lot of the military communities are very friendly and welcoming to new families. Take yourself (and your kids) out of your comfort zone. Go to a coffee morning or play group. You'll be meeting new friends in no time.

What have you learned about parenting from living in different places?

I have learned that it is okay to adjust your expectations about the way you would like to parent. When you're living in a foreign country, it is not always easy to do things that you would normally do at home. Products are different, there are often language barriers, and schooling can vary so much from one place to the next.

You are still a good parent even if you aren't able to do things exactly how you imagined. Living in different places will give your children a lot of opportunities that most children won't have. Make the most of it!

What are your best tips for traveling with kids?

What's your family's favorite Thanksgiving treat? Please link to your recipe.

Lisa Sissons

I love pumpkin pie, and really look forward to it at this time of year. I genuinely don't think you can have Thanksgiving without it. Because I am Canadian, I celebrate Thanksgiving in October. Living in the UK makes it difficult to come by some of the typical ingredients and items that one in the USA or Canada would come to expect at this time of year. I discovered that I couldn't buy frozen pie crusts or canned pumpkin in the shops, but luckily Amazon delivered the pumpkin right to my door!
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Aside from a birth certificate, what legal documents should a parent file after having a child?

Lisa Sissons

For my family it would be citizenship in Canada as well as Britain (I'm Canadian and my husband is English). We would want to ensure that our children had dual nationality as well as passports for each country.
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What's the craziest or funniest thing you felt driven to do while pregnant and nesting? (If there's an image that goes along with your story, please share the link with us!)

Lisa Sissons

Because we lived in a villa in Italy while I was pregnant, we had very high ceilings and very large windows. When I was near my due date I decided it would be a fantastic idea to redecorate the living room. This involved hanging new curtains...which involved standing on quite a high ladder. It was a bit nerve racking with my massive belly! The worst part was that the curtain rails weren't very secure and my efforts were wasted when they fell off the wall!
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What are the most important things to do while on maternity leave before going back to work?

Lisa Sissons

My answer is, as usual, not the one that people would usually consider. When you picture being on maternity leave, you imagine love and joy at spending time with your new baby, sleepless nights, new routines, changing relationships. But for me my maternity leave was spent grieving. In the UK if your baby is stillborn or dies as a new born (like my son did), you are still entitled to your full maternity leave and pay. I think this is a very good thing, because it gives you the time you need to grieve without worrying about if you will have a job to go back to or how you will pay the bills. When I started working again, it was shortly before my maternity leave would have normally ended. It was like a stab in the heart that I was back at work, when I actually had never intended on going back when my son was born. I so desperately wanted the life with him that I imagined. Maternity leave was not what it should have been, but then nothing in my life is how it should be now that he is gone.
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What are you most looking forward to as a mom in 2013? Please include a link to a picture if it's relevant.

Lisa Sissons

As a mother who's only child is no longer living, I am trying to look forward to carry on with my healing. I always look forward to finding new ways to connect with my son and to keep his memory alive. My husband, dog and I are taking a big step by moving from the UK to Canada. I look forward to finding our dream house and being able to really settle down in a way that we weren't able to whilst he has been in the army. The biggest thing I think I'm looking forward to is getting pregnant with Finley's little brother or sister. I have no way of knowing if that will be in 2013 or not, but as a mother who has dreamed of having a full house, I think that it will help to bring some healing to my very broken heart.
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What's the most unique or fun way to announce a pregnancy that you've seen? Please share a link with a picture if it's relevant.

Lisa Sissons

When a friend found out she was having a little boy, she did an announcement by sharing a photo of her bump with one of those cute little moustaches stuck on. It was very sweet.
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