It’s the day before Sgt. Robert Vetterline’s homecoming ceremony and his family was buzzing with activity.

His wife, Danielle Vetterline, has learned the key to keeping the kids from obsessing about his pending return after nine months in Afghanistan is to keep them busy.

“Idle hands ... are a mommy’s worst nightmare,” she said as she helped her three children ice cupcakes Monday in her Fort Hood home. Once finished, she organized the red, white and blue treats into the shape of an American flag, complete with stars and the words “Welcome Home.”

“I try to keep them busy,” she said. “It gives them something to think about. It gives everybody something to do.”

Vetterline’s husband is on his third deployment, this time with 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. To get ready for his return, Vetterline and her children — Joseph, 9, and daughters Kendra, 7, and Jillian, 2 — made T-shirts and sweatshirts with corresponding posters for the homecoming ceremony on Cooper Field.

Joseph’s poster reads “I took care of Mommy and the girls while you were gone. Now it’s your turn.” On his sweater are the words “Tag, you’re it.”

But even though the family was preparing for Dad to come home, life didn’t stop. Kendra still had dance class and Joseph had Boy Scouts. For this reason, Vetterline said she needs her husband to come in Tuesday night and hit the ground running.

“Robbie has to jump right in,” she said. “He’s got to do it or it’s going to fall apart.

“We had our game faces on when he left, so he has to have his when he comes home,” she added.

Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here. You can contact Rose L. Thayer at rthayer@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.

Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here.

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