Meet Elizabeth!

Hey DD/MD friends and family!

We’re so excited to introduce Elizabeth (Liz) as our newest team member. Heck, she’s so amazing, she wanted to introduce herself to y’all!

From Liz:

My family spent 4.5 years in North Carolina while my husband was a Harrier pilot with VMA-542, and now live in Hawaii, where he continues to fly C-20s for the USMC.  I am a counselor by training, but now enjoy staying home with my 4yr old (Owen) and my 4-month-old (James).  Having experienced 2 deployments, countless days with my husband away for training, and a toddler to care for at the time, I know all too well how these separations can affect a small child.  These books are an invaluable resource for any parent trying to start a dialogue with their kids, not only about the logistics of the deployment, but also about the emotional challenges they will all face together.  I am so excited to be a part of this incredible company, and I look forward to supporting other military families as they navigate what can be very difficult experiences and come out stronger on the other side…because in this crazy military lifestyle, no matter how hard it is to make it through sometimes, there’s nothing more joyful and amazing than a Homecoming.

Please leave some love for Liz below, or shoot her an email and introduce yourself: support@daddysdeployed.com

50% off in April!

I want to start this post off by saying that ONE MAN is covering the promotion this month. Pretty awesome right?

One of my friends from high school, who is also responsible for Craig and me meeting, is a Partner at Thrivent Financial (https://www.thrivent.com/). He handles all of our mutual funds and life insurance, but has also provided me with great advice and support since starting DD/MD. Last month we started our big push to partner up with more awesome corporations so that we can provide personalized books at cheaper costs for our military families. I decided to send him a package because (1) they look awesome and (2) I was hoping he’d know someone that would want to help milfams.

The day he received the package he called from Illinois. This is how our conversation went:

Dan: “Hey, I got your package today. It looks great. What do I need to do? Send a check to you?”

Me: “Well, wait, that’s not really how this works.”

Dan: “Okay, if I give (x) amount of money, how many families could we provide books for?”

Since April is the Month of the Military Child we decided it would be great to do a huge promotion. Dan brought up the idea of covering 50% of the costs of 50 books. Really generous right? Within a week contracts had been signed and checks were in the mail.

Here’s the best thing about Dan: besides distant family members, and Craig, he has no direct ties to the military. He’s just someone that realizes what we all go through and wants to help.

He also realizes that veterans make amazing employees and has asked that if anyone knows a great vet looking for a job in the Bloomington/Peoria, Illinois area to email me: Bridget(at)daddysdeployed(dot)com and we will pass along his contact information. I’m (not so secretly) hoping that Craig goes to work for him after his time in the military is up. ;)

So here’s how it works:

Go to www.daddysdeployed.com
Click: “order book”
Enter in all your information
Add the promo code: Thrivent4
(directly underneath the code box you will see a breakdown of your costs/savings in blue text…it’s small, but it’s there!)
Check out
We’ll handle the rest. :)

Once you’ve received your book, email us a picture of your kiddos with their books for our Facebook page and a chance to win one of our new t-shirts!

Winner Winner! (Your Yeoman and the T-shirt Contest)

As our Lucky Month comes to a close, we are thrilled to announce our final contest winners!


Hey Heather Neal Pantley, you’ve won your husband a Your Yeoman package! Please email daddysdeployed@gmail.com with your location, email, and best phone number to be reached at. We’ll handle the rest.

We are so proud of the voter turnout for our t-shirt contest! Though there were several quotes loved by many, the most voted for was #6 (Together forever, never apart, maybe in distance, but never in heart.) Congratulations to Alejandra Lizarraga for submitting that one and winning t-shirts for herself and her family. Alejandra, please email daddysdeployed@gmail.com with your family’s t-shirt sizes (youth and adult) as well as the address you’d like them sent to.

We also want to give away shirts to one of our voters. So Lori Elfers  please email us at daddysdeployed@gmail.com with your family’s t-shirt sizes (youth and adult) as well as the address you’d like them sent to.

Thank you for all the support and entries for our Lucky Month giveaways! Stay tuned: we’re going to be posting something really awesome here on April 1st.

We hope you’ve all had a great weekend!

The DD/MD Team

Lucky Day Giveaway!

Happy St. Patty’s Day! We feel so lucky to have you follow us and we want to share the love! Share and enter this contest to win your very own Snort from Toymail. We posted about these amazing toys a few weeks ago on our Facebook page: they send and receive mail via WiFi. Perfect for family who lives far away and deployed parents with WiFi! Our CEO has one and Grandma and Grandpa just sent over a message singing the ABC’s for her daughter to sing along with. To win: comment below that you’d like to be entered. (Worth over $60!) We’re closing this one at midnight at Wednesday.

T-Shirt Time!

We are getting ready to create some t-shirts and we need YOUR help. Do you have a funny or memorable quote/hashtag about deployments that would look great on a shirt? Comment below! If we use yours we will send free t-shirts for you and your kiddos!

And the Winners are….

Thank you all for entering our contest to win one of FIVE free versions of DD/MD. If you see your name below please email us (daddysdeployed@gmail.com) and tell us how many children the book is for (up to three!). We will send you a gift certificate to use on our website. :)

And the winners are:
Jerrica Zidlicky
Sean Abby Hacker
Beckie Goodman
Megan Honeycutt Berg
Courtney Blair

Don’t see your name? Don’t worry! March is our Lucky Month and we’re giving away more awesomeness next week! Make sure you to follow us on Facebook.

Sittercity Sponsored Giveaway!

It seems like more and more families are gearing up for deployments every day and we want to make sure each of those families has a shot of winning one of five copies of DD/MD, sponsored by Sittercity. Sittercity is an amazing resource and the best part is: it’s free! They have an exclusive contract with the DoD, one that ensures your registration fee is completely covered (a $140 fee!) for all active duty military families. The thing I love most about Sittercity is that it’s not solely a babysitting service; there’s pet care, pcs help, and so much more! If you haven’t registered yet, take the 2 minutes to do it and rest easy knowing your children are in good hands. http://tinyurl.com/lbu3ulo

Ready to enter for your chance to win one of our five books? All you have to do is comment below and tell us how you would benefit from one of our fully personalized stories. We will announce the winners this Sunday!

The Birth of Daddy’s Deployed

I was recently asked to write a blog for SargesList about how I started this awesome little company. So here’s a modified version:

I read somewhere that most people have their “big” ideas while they’re doing something else: working, washing dishes, etc. Mine came to me while I was driving. But let’s start at the beginning.

We live 17 hours away from our families and the birth of my daughter was the first grandchild on my side, and the third on my husband’s. Both sets of families were equally as excited and planned immediate visits. Charlotte’s due date was February 16th, and I was convinced I was going to go early. Sweet Charlotte had other plans. By the 23rd my parents were floating in Asheville after a few days in Memphis, and waiting for the call. There was little room for flexibility as my in-laws were arriving the first week in March. Charlotte arrived early morning on the 25th, after a storm that was Shakespearean in nature (Shakespeare often used weather as an added character to set the scene, and this storm fits Charlotte’s personality exactly: strong).

Craig had 10 days off and they were eventful: my family arriving, then leaving, his family arriving, then leaving, and then his returning to work. I will never forget the look on his face when he came home from work that day. We knew they were leaving in a few weeks for a three-month long training exercise. What we didn’t know was that he was going advon, and would be leaving only a few days later. My heart sank. I held this tiny baby, crying, (me, not her) I called my mom who immediately flew back out and we drove to Illinois together. I drove almost the whole way (because I’m a control freak) and my mind ran wild with concern about how my daughter would know who her father was: he had just left for three months, he would return in May only to leave again for over a month in June/July, then deploy for seven months in the fall.

I thought to myself that a book would help. But not just any book. It would have to be her book. It needed to show our family, Craig’s uniform and looks, and it had to be good. I had many details worked out in my head by the time we got back to IL and I created a shotty business plan. My brother had just graduated from Harvard Business School about a year prior, and is a straight-shooter, so I knew he would tell me if I had a good idea. We had our first “meeting” on the living room floor of my parents house: my dad, my brother, and myself. I told him my idea and I could see the wheels turning in his mind. I then showed him my plan, as well as the research I had done. He finally spoke: “This is great. What if we could create an environment where every child was the star of the book…” and he started spouting off ideas and I typed so frantically, and quickly, thanking God my parents encouraged me to take a typing class in high school.

It wasn’t that easy though…and being a teacher, not a business major, I had to figure out a lot of things at a slower pace. I registered the name Daddy’s Deployed as an LLC and then started working with illustrators and graphic designers. It took about six months from concept to initial product, and we have changed the story several times since we started. At first there were less options, but we wanted to reach more families, so we perfected Mommy’s Deployed, added multiple children per book, options for family day outings (beach, zoo, park, etc), deploying venues, and the list continues on as our product is ever changing.

As we move forward and near year two (this August) of being an active company, I am always thinking of where we’re headed next. For DD/MD we are organizing corporate partnerships so that we can get our product into the tiny hands that desperately need it faster and cheaper, without compromising the quality. We’re currently in the planning stages on a product for teens, something extraordinarily near and dear to my heart, with my background in teaching high school English. Stay tuned!

 

 

An Open Letter to GMC

An Open Letter to GMC
I hope you will take a moment to read about my customer service experience today at Ultimate GMC in  Fredericksburg, Virginia.

I live in North Carolina, and had an event in Washington, DC last night. I drove out in our 2010 GMC Terrain without problem. I woke up early, at 0700, with an urgency to get back to my two-year-old daughter, as I hate being away from her, even for one night. I started my five and a half hour journey back in the sleet filled skies over I-95. I’m sure you can imagine my disappointment when I stopped for gas and smoke billowed out from under the hood. I assumed that this meant that the oil leak we had it in for service for the previous week had not been properly fixed, and I certainly did not intend to drive further.

I called our roadside assistance provider who informed me that we had 100 miles of towing available, and each mile past 100 would cost $4. I had about 400 miles of my trip left and even though I was an English teacher, I was able to calculate that we could not afford that tow. I thought quickly and searched for a nearby GMC dealership. Ultimate GMC in Fredericksburg was less than twenty miles away. I called there and explained to Dave, the service manager, what was happening. He told me to have the car towed there, and what ensued next will be forever known as the greatest customer service I have ever experienced. When my lovely tow truck driver, George, dropped me off, Mike from service greeted me by name and immediately had a team out getting our SUV down and into service.

Almost a decade as a Marine’s wife, I am not frazzled easily. And, even though I showed no emotion, it was as though Dave and Mike knew I was crushed to lose another day with my daughter. They checked in on me, provided me updates on the car, and had me back on the road within three hours. They never once acted as though I was an inconvenience (even though the waiting room was filled with people waiting for their cars) and they spoke to me with respect, something that is often rare in a male-dominated industry.

When Mike escorted me back to the front to settle the bill, he said, “I did have to charge you for the dye we used in the oil tank…” almost remorsefully. I shrugged it off until I went to pay the bill and saw that the dye was the ONLY thing I was charged for. There was no labor fee, no emergency car appointment fee, nothing. Only the dye. I was shocked. My uncle owns a GMC dealership back in Illinois, so I am used to great customer service there, but here was another story. I wasn’t anyone to these men, and being from out of town, it’s unlikely that I would be back for more service, or to purchase a car there. But I can tell you that I will never forget how full my heart felt driving away in my fixed car.

Often, people look at the business I own, serving military families, and my husband’s active duty status and thank us for our service. Mike and Dave from Ultimate GMC should be recognized for THEIR service. I literally cannot fill the pages with enough praise for these two men.

Thank you, Mike and Dave, from the bottom of my heart. You showed me that good still exists, and I promise I will promote your service and the mission at Ultimate GMC to anyone that will listen.

Bravo, GMC. This is what families need to see when deciding where to buy a car. I will never buy any brand other than GMC, based off of my experiences today alone.

Most sincerely,

Bridget Platt
CEO of Daddy’s Deployed, LLC

The Holidays…And How Sittercity DOD Can Help!

One of the first blogs I wrote on the DD/MD site was about how difficult it is to deal with a deployment during the holidays. When I wrote it, Craig was actually deployed, and it was the first Christmas with the baby. It was hard: being at home with family should help, but sometimes it only makes you realize how you’re not at your home with your family. On the other hand, when you are at your home with your (incomplete) family, you’re wishing that you had the support of trusted family members, and good friends that really know you.

To say that I am a worrisome parent would be an understatement, but I’ve also made a conscious effort to not project fear onto my daughter. I hate that she will run full-force towards a staircase, but I love that she’s not afraid of them, even though she hasn’t mastered going down stairs yet.

Going hand-in-hand with being a worrisome parent is, sometimes, being too terrified to leave your child with someone, a babysitter, when you live away from family. There are two people here that I trust to leave my daughter with. Two. And when they’re both unavailable to help out, oftentimes I’m left without a sitter, and staying home from a squadron event that I would have liked to have gone to. If the event is child-friendly then that’s great, but with the holiday season coming up, most parties are adults only (for reasons I completely understand), and it’s hard to feel like you’re constantly missing out.

Enter Sittercity’s partnership with the DOD. If you don’t know about Sittercity, check them out here: https://www.sittercity.com/dod. I have known about Sittercity for awhile: friends back home in Chicago talk about how amazing the service is, and how convenient it is to find a well-respected person to care for your child. One of my good friends here recently moved to Hawaii. She was the type, when you met for coffee, who knew at least three people in the room at any given time. Before she left, she sent me her “little black book” of gold for mommies: her babysitter recommendations, in ranked order, with brief descriptions accompanying each. I kept that file in my purse, attached to my person at all times. I remember thinking how great it would be if there was an online world where this existed for us, out in the rural area of Eastern North Carolina.

When I was at the AUSA convention, I had the pleasure of meeting Lauren T., the woman in charge of Sittercity’s military program. Immediately, I knew that I wanted to get to know her better, and find out more about what Sittercity offered the military. Lauren was, without a doubt, the friendliest person I met at the convention. Even though several people around us were vying for her attention as well, she stayed completely engaged in our conversation, answering all of my questions with knowledge, and a knowing smile. The knowing smile later surprised me when I learned that Lauren is not directly tied to the military; but she is so dedicated to her job, and to helping military families, that she gets “it.” I quickly moved her business card to the top of my stack to ensure that I followed up with her as soon as possible after the convention was over.

When I returned home, I began looking into Sittercity’s military program further, but not too optimistically, as I assumed they didn’t exist where we live. I signed up for it, because it’s free for military members, and was shocked! This program is EVERYWHERE, and I mean everywhere. The list of sitters in my area was plentiful, and I scrolled through the list excitedly. The cherry on top, for me, was seeing Kristi on the list of care providers. Kristi was number one in the list of sitters that my friend left me before she moved to Hawaii. Kristi is the one who, my friend says, loved her child and raised him as though he was her own when my friend returned to work. I knew a little about her, but now, with Sittercity, I was able to see her background, know where she is from, and how long she’s been a mother/care provider/etc. I couldn’t have been happier.

Here’s what’s awesome: Sittercity is free for us because they have a partnership with the DOD. We sign up online, they verify that we’re military, and then the DOD pays them for our memberships. And they’re not cheap folks: we’re talking $140+ PER MEMBERSHIP. And it’s not just for babysitting; you can also find references for nannies (full and part time), pet sitters, housekeepers, PCS help…the list goes on and on. Make sure you check them out, and register: https://www.sittercity.com/dod. If you have any questions, reach out to Lauren through their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Sittercity.DoD

Oh, and don’t forget to enter to win a free copy of DD/MD! They’re giving away a book a day this month! :)

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