Welcome to Fort Campbell

Upon arriving at Fort Campbell, I expected to deploy immediately to Europe. As soon as I found out this was going to be delayed by two months, I communicated with the girls’ mother to have them visit the week before school started. Not only were they extremely happy to see their Dad again and setup their new rooms, but they were very excited to see the Fort Campbell area, where they would be living in a year’s time.

Gabriella did not want a giant cupcake… I will take her to the doctor to get checked out later…
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Visiting the Girls in Texas

After closing out my duties, handing over the house, and outprocessing my unit, the cats and I said goodbye to Fort Huachuca and headed East towards Kentucky. It was a two-day drive for me, but since the Army allocated five days for me to travel, it made all the sense in the world to stop in Texas to spend a few days with the girls.

Playgrounds were definitely on the itinerary
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Deployment and Hiatus

My last post was a little over two months ago and it was written just after I had arrived at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. To say a lot has changed since then would be an understatement. While I have been extremely busy since I got here, even sometimes working over the weekends (mostly self-induced), part of why I have not written is because it is likely going to be my last post for quite a while (pending the few I have in the hopper). As was always a possibility in my profession, I am going to deploy soon, and will not have the time, connectivity, or material to write while overseas.

Starfleet Academy shirt, Assault Pack, and PT shoes… wow.
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The Calkins Family’s Arizona Farewell Tour

“All good things must come to an end.” Unfortunate proverb, but so very true. Being in the military, it is only a matter of time before you have to move to a different duty station. Thankfully, through the Assignment Interactive Module (AIM) marketplace, we will always have choices in where we go next, but it still means that we have to leave Fort Huachuca. And, make no mistake, we have had a great time here. Before we left though, Elaina, Gabriella, and I wanted to make sure we did all the things that made our posting in Southeast Arizona so memorable.

Niñas. Niñas made it memorable. And giant, realistic dinosaurs.
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Playing a Little Baseball

Like many men out there, one of my fondest pastimes as a kid was playing catch with my Dad. Just a Father, Son, two mitts, a baseball, and a little conversation. No matter how busy we both were then and throughout our lives, there always seemed to be enough time to throw the ball around for a few minutes. Now that the girls and I are past that threshold, seemed like a good idea to get them started on hitting and fielding.

Ditch the unit hat and add some cleats, we may make a baseball player out of you yet.
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When Life Gives You a Yard Sale, Operate a Lemonade Stand

As we get ready for our big move to Fort Campbell, KY, one of the big things we still needed to do was get rid of some of our excess stuff. I mean, who would have thought that travelling every few years would lead to us accumulating junk at an alarming rate? Since the girls always wanted to operate a lemonade stand in front of the house, we figured this was the perfect opportunity to combine the two. Both ventures went better than any of us could have expected.

Free Lemonade? Seems like an unsustainable business model…
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Leveling Up: Moving on to more Advanced Family Board Games

In the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:11, it states that “when I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” This could easily be adopted to represent the transition between “childish” games and “adult” games, where the level of objectives and strategy go from simple to overly complex. While we are not yet at Star Wars: Armada, Twilight Imperium, or War of the Ring levels of gaming, if we keep this up, I bet we get there a little sooner than your average family.

The girls are now into games that take an hour to set up… I am so proud.
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Learning Something New: Archery

During my initial counseling with my Commander in June, he tasked me with learning something new over the course of the next year. While my initial plans to learn to play the piano fell through (as time was starting to come up short and I was not going to be able to learn to play on my own), I eventually settled on archery. Since there was a range on post and it was much cheaper than some of my colleagues’ selections (like collecting trading cards or restoring an old grandfather clock), it seemed like a good choice. And of course, I was going to teach the girls to shoot as well, because that is just how we do things in our family.

Time to start watching Hawkeye
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The Thing Museum

If you have driven on Interstate 10 in Arizona or New Mexico, chances are you have seen at least one of the thousand billboards advertising The Thing, a roadside attraction / tourist trap in Southeastern Arizona. I can remember seeing these signs as early as 2002 when I was first stationed at Fort Huachuca, but probably saw them much earlier than that while passing through the Southwest with my Dad. Since we were about ready to leave Arizona, the girls decided that we needed to stop in and see what all the fuss was about.

“We come in peace.” -Elaina, Gabriella, and Eeyore
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Walt Disney World Vacation – Travel Back to Arizona

With our days at the parks over, it was unfortunately time to leave Walt Disney World and head back West. The plan for our final day was to relax, get some last-minute shopping and activities in, and maybe sample a few more sweets before we left. With the day’s events already planned out and our transportation to the airport secured, it was time to have a carefree day before we said goodbye to our Disney vacation.

Smiles. That is why I do this.
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