Month of the Military Child – Sierra Vista Herald Article

So the girls are famous now, at least across Fort Huachuca. Based on some brainstorming in the Public Affairs Office about April’s Month of the Military Child, my First Sergeant and I’s families were selected for an article in the Sierra Vista Herald about the wonder and difficulties of being a military child. Of course, I jumped at this opportunity and was very eager to support the initiative. The girls were pretty excited too at the prospect of being in the newspaper. When the crew arrived, Gabriella went shy and stayed in her room most of the time, while Elaina opened up as soon as the first question was asked of her. And just like that, the girls were a household name (within a five-mile radius).

To no one’s surprise, shy Gabriella just wanted to cuddle while Elaina the Extrovert would not stop talking.
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Elaina and I Cooking her Favorite Meal Together

Elaina’s favorite meal is lasagna. She loves it so much in fact, that she has consumed an entire large size microwave lasagna in a single sitting on multiple occasions. But since I am lukewarm on the dish and it seems a little difficult to make, I have never cooked it in my life. One of Elaina’s homework assignments this month was to cook a meal with her parents. She chose lasagna, which put me in quite the quandary: Cook a meal with her that I have been putting off since I was able to pick up a wooden spoon or try to convince her to do something easier (with the possibility of disappointing her)? Spoiler alert: It was a pretty easy choice.

Why could you have not picked something easy like waffles or quesadillas?
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Our Trip to Phoenix – Day One (Phoenix Zoo and Game Night)

Since about March of 2020, the girls have been begging me to go up to Phoenix to visit the zoo, the aquarium, and/or Great Wolf Lodge. Until recently though, I just have not felt comfortable enough to spend time in major metropolitan areas. Even when we go to Tucson, we are hitting no more than two stores and staying quite the distance away from everyone. It has been a year though and the girls are doing very well with wearing their masks and staying away from crowds, so I figured it was time to take the plunge and head up to Phoenix for the weekend. And since the Great Wolf Lodge cost/benefit analysis did not come up positive, we were headed to the Phoenix Zoo and the OdySea Aquarium.

I remember the bronze Komodo Dragon being a lot bigger the last time we came here…
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A Sleepover, A Marathon, and a Lost Tooth

This was another fun yet busy weekend for Team Calkins (last weekend we spent in Phoenix, which I will post about later). As much as I talk about needing to take a step back and relax, it is just not something that we do. To quote Russell from Up, “Adventure is out there!;” we are not going to find it sitting at home, especially in the time of COVID (who’s impact we continue to manage very well). So the girls had a sleepover at their friend’s house while I ran a marathon. Sounds like a pretty good time for them.

Having the girls waiting at the finish line was all the motivation I needed
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Taking Care of Dad

As every parent knows, most of the time it is us taking care of our children. Whether it is cooking meals, drawing them a bath, or getting another Band-Aid for that minor (possibly invisible) scrape, a vast majority of our lives involves taking care of our kids. Every now and then though, they might have to return the favor. This has pretty much been the case for the last month, as I have been either broken or tired, and the girls have stepped up when I needed it most. Here is to the girls taking care of Dad.

Pancakes, Coffee, and March Madness help too, just not as much.
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The Calkins Family has been Busy

It has been almost a month since I last posted and for good reason: Team Calkins has been very busy. Ever since the girls got back to Arizona after New Year’s, our weeknight and weekend schedules have been full of activities. As I have stated before, when it comes to prioritizing whether I spend more time with the girls or write about what we have done, I am always going to choose the former. So needless to say, I am pretty far behind right now with what I want to write about. Hopefully, this post catches you all up to what the Calkins Family has been up to for the past month, even though almost each topic could warrant their own post.

Do you wanna build a snowman?
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The 2021 Cooking Plan

I love cookbooks and can never have enough of them. Particularly themed cookbooks. But I never use them as much as I should. That changed about five years ago when I went through them all, recipe by recipe, and wrote down every entrée, side, dessert, or drink that I was interested in trying. While knocking out new recipes got a little sidetracked a few years ago, we are finally getting back to it, adding new cookbooks, jotting down new recipes, and trying new things (as you could have guessed, The Disney Princess Cookbook got used the most this year).

“Please do not worry, Tiana; we will get to your Baked Caramel French Toast sometime this year.”
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Run-up to Christmas

As I wrote in one of my last posts, the girls were spending Christmas with their mother in Texas, so we were trying to get most of our Christmas in before they left. They were still going to open some presents when they returned, but with the girls likely already tired of the holidays and with school starting back up again, it was best to really celebrate our holiday beforehand. We had a lot to do and a relatively short time to do it, so we dove right in as soon as they returned from Thanksgiving.

Even the Elf on the Shelf is getting into baking sourdough…
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Playing Some Catch with Dad

I have never regretted having only daughters. My girls are absolutely amazing and I would not change a single thing about them. But with having only daughters though, I have always tried to temper expectations for some things that I always dreamed of doing with my kids, like going to ball games together, going fishing, and above all, playing catch. I just did not think they would like these things and I did not want to put any pressure on them just because that was part of my dream of being a father, whereas, if I had boys, these would likely occur over the course of time. But, as always, these girls just keep surprising me (you are probably sick of me saying that and I really should stop being surprised).

If you don’t twirl, it doesn’t count
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Decorating Our Gingerbread Houses

Since the girls were spending Christmas this year with the mother in Texas, it meant that we had to try to really fill in the first three weeks of December with Christmas activities (not to mention doing the same thing when they return). Even before we got out the tree, ornaments, and decorations, the girls wanted to build gingerbread houses together. So let us see if my girls have what it takes to be successful tiny home architects (with rather unconventional building materials).

And they surprisingly did not eat all those materials
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