Walt Disney World Vacation – EPCOT

After our terrible travel day and a half day enjoying the resort, we tried to right the ship during the first park visit of our vacation. After a full night’s sleep and a morning of going over the day’s initial plan, we were ready to go to EPCOT to get our Walt Disney World (WDW) Christmas vacation back on track.

Papa was very disappointed that the “EPCOT Ball” was not a golfing simulator
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Walt Disney World Vacation – Travel to Orlando

For our vacation this year, we decided on going to Walt Disney World (WDW) for Christmas. The girls have been very excited about the prospect of going back for a while now, but last year was just a little too hectic for everyone to try to squeeze it in. Since we were not going to visit any of my family for Christmas and my Mom is a Disney fanatic, Grandma and Papa decided to join us on our vacation. At the time we planned and booked the trip, the Delta variant was subsiding and the WDW parks were still limited to around 70% capacity, so it seemed like the perfect time to try to get in a family Christmas Vacation in with Mickey and Minnie Mouse in Florida.

Same Disney Bags, New Disney Adventure
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Merry Christmas from the Calkins Family

It is that time of year again and we are in full holiday mode. The Elf on the Shelf has been active, the ornaments and stockings have been hung, and the sugar cookies and gingerbread houses have been decorated. Aside from putting up Christmas lights, we went all out again this year in bringing out the holiday spirit as we celebrate our last Christmas on Fort Huachuca (during this tour, at least).

But it is a pity that we are moving away from our amazing photographer of the last four years

As per the usual, it has been a busy year in the Calkins Family and we are very much anticipating some rest and relaxation at Walt Disney World during our vacation starting tomorrow. Afterwards, the girls will be staying at their Great-Grandmother’s house for Christmas (she guilt-tripped me until I said yes) while I get caught up with the post-leave mountain of work. While we may be off the net for a while, I will be back to posting about our continuing adventure soon.

Yep… quite a busy year indeed.

Thanks for checking in on us and we hope that you and your family have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Cheers!

Halloween 2021

Halloween is back at Fort Huachuca and the girls were excited as ever to go out trick-or-treating on post. With the Trunk-or-Treat event happening right next to our house and the girls getting the hang of “efficient” trick-or-treating, our last Halloween on Fort Huachuca was sure to be one to remember.

Do not let their calm demeanor deceive you; they are well aware they are about to get a ton of candy
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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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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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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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Merry Christmas from the Calkins Family

While the girls spent Christmas this year in Texas with their mother, we still managed to take our family photos and get our Christmas card out on time. As always, they came out beautifully and everyone loved receiving them.

The picture on the right is proof that they really do love one another

I will be sure to write more this weekend about our run-up to Christmas (when I get some time). I have just been extremely busy since they left getting caught up on coursework, professional reading and writing, and taking care of myself by eating healthier and exercising more frequently.

A pretty productive year given the circumstances

Thanks for checking in on us. From our family to yours, Merry Christmas!

Cheers!

Valentine’s Day Card Boxes for School

It is that time of year again to receive candy from others… no, not Halloween… not Easter… we do seem to have a lot of these…  it is Valentine’s Day!  Which comes with the annual card exchange at Elaina and Gabriella’s schools.  Elaina had to make a box at home to receive all her cards, and while none of us are particularly amazing at arts & crafts, we managed to get our projects completed on time and in style.

Take that, Chip and Joanna!

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New Year’s at Great Wolf Lodge

I have never been a big New Year’s Eve person, as drinking and dancing are not particularly my idea of a good time.  But magic, miniature golfing, and waterparks… yes, please.  Coming off a great Christmas with the grandparents, the girls and I headed up to Scottsdale to spend our New Year’s holiday at Great Wolf Lodge.

“Howl if you are ready for New Year’s!”

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