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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Arts & Crafts on Fort Huachuca

As living in a COVID world becomes more and more like the new normal, we are slowly trying to branch out and try new things around Fort Huachuca and the surrounding area, of course, all while implementing our mitigation strategies. Last week as I was posting the weekly announcements for my unit, I saw an advertisement on the Fort Huachuca Facebook page about an event at the Fort Huachuca Arts & Crafts Center called Pick-It-and-Paint Ceramics. It sounded like a fun, cheap activity for the girls and I, so as we headed back home from our Saturday errands, we decided to stop in to see what all the excitement was about.

At age five, Gabriella is already a better painter than her Dad will ever be
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Single Dadding in the Time of COVID

So by now, most of us are probably bored out of our minds being stuck at home.  While I still have to go in to work (being mission-essential and all), the girls are definitely getting tired of being cooped up in the house most of the weekend.  But, pandemic or not, good parenting never stops and we are still driving on with our routine (albeit a safer one).

Swimming, Trampolining, and Cookies are where it’s at!

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Elaina’s Talent Show

About two weeks before COVID-19 changed everything, we were busy preparing Elaina for her talent show at the Seifert School Age Center (SAC).  She was planning to sing “Into the Unknown” from Frozen II with some of her friends, so we brought out the karaoke machine that she got for Christmas and started practicing.  Yep, it is another post about taking time away from your busy day at work to support your child and their activity.

Starting to see a theme here…

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“Hunting the Good Stuff”

During this time of uncertainty, sometimes it is really tough to think positive.  But we must carry on and try to find the silver lining in all this.  In the Army, we call this “Hunting the Good Stuff.”  In essence, you may be in a bad situation, but try your best to look on the bright side.  And we do, because that is how the Calkins Family does it.

I got served the same food right after this picture was taken (and I ate all of it, I swear!)

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My 40th Birthday “Party”

In the wake of the girls’ mother leaving, the last thing I wanted to have was a birthday party with friends.  It just ended up being the girls and I.  We picked out a cake together, I bought them presents, and we just spent the evening together.  Two years later, my birthday routine has become something of a tradition, one born out of a sadder time in our lives, but one that means a lot to all three of us.

They were really disappointed that I did not pick the unicorn cake…

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Elaina’s “Gingerbread” House

Prior to the winter break, Elaina’s class had a “gingerbread” house decorating activity, of which parents were invited.  While Elaina begged me to go, it was all in vain; as I have stated before, I would not have missed it for the world.

Note: If you have not noticed, I am playing a little bit of catch-up on my writing.  The girls are visiting their mother and great-grandmother over the holiday weekend, so it might finally give me a chance to get to some of the bigger events, such as their soccer season, Christmas,  New Year’s.

“Honey, please make sure it is built up to code.”

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Fundraisers

As any parent will know, your children are always watching you and picking up things from your behavior (for better or for worse).  Because of this, you always need to be on your toes to ensure that your children are picking up the right values.  Sometimes you get lucky though and can show these values through your normal actions.  This happened a few weeks ago when we attended back-to-back fundraisers, with my daughters learning the values of helping support others.

And this is why I still carry wet wipes with me, because sometimes napkins will just not do.

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The Great Calkins Cat Adventure (Part II)

So the big day finally arrived to pick up our kittens from the Pima Animal Care Center.  Yes, you heard that right: plural.  We ended up adopting two of them, both roommates at the center (in fact, the girls had me already calling the center before I completed my previous post).  In my opinion, it could not have gone any better.  Here are the first 24 hours with the newest members of our family, Merlissa, a six-month old female Tortie (Tortoiseshell)/Brown Tabby, and Aurora, a six-month old female Orange Tabby.

And if you cannot believe it… all four of them are potty-trained!

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