Looking Back on Last Year’s First Day of School

So tomorrow is the girls’ first day of school.  Elaina will be starting 1st Grade and Gabriella will be starting Kindergarten.  While I certainly will be posting about how the day went, when I went back to look over how I felt during Elaina’s first day of Kindergarten a year ago, I realized that I had not even posted about it.  Given that it was an extremely stressful day that also brought out the best in my being a parent, I figured I would share that today.

This feels like it happened a lot longer than a year ago…

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Saying Goodbye to Summer and Welcome Back to my Girls

There is a song stating that Christmas is the “most wonderful time of the year.”  No disrespect to Andy Williams, but I disagree.  For me, the most wonderful time of the year is when the girls return home after summer vacation with their mother.  From Gabriella having her birthday to prepping for their return (the house and car are spotless right now), or to just me smiling and getting that spark of life back again, this is the best part of the year for me.

Someone looks ready to travel…

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Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Braid my Daughters’ Hair)

A little over a year ago, I wrote a post about some of the difficulties of doing my daughters’ hair and how I overcame them… it is pretty much a ten-minute read on how to do a pony tail.  One thing that I briefly discussed was that I was absolutely terrible at (even attempting) braids at that it would be a while until I tried again.  Well, Gabriella asked me for a braid the other night after her bath, and even though I feared the result, I acquiesced to her polite request.  And succeeded.

I mean, it is not gonna win any awards, but…

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Dental Appointments

Conveniently, the girls had their dental appointments scheduled right after Elaina lost her two bottom front teeth.  Unfortunately, their appointments were cancelled due to COVID-19.  After Arizona started easing some restrictions and the dentist’s office had put the necessary safety and social distancing protocols in place, I was able to rescheduled their appointments.  And crazy enough, the girls were really excited to go.

(Note: Some of these pictures were from before COVID-19, and thus before the safety protocols were in place)

Dental hygiene doesn’t get much cooler than this

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Read Across America Week – Guest Reader

As part of Read Across America Week earlier this month, Elaina’s teacher asked parents to volunteer as guest readers for her class.  As busy as I am at work (even pre-COVID-19), there is always time to support Elaina and her school, so I volunteered to read two books to her class.

Elaina’s Book Choices (her teacher denied me reading The Dresden Files or Game of Thrones)

The hardest part of this was determining what books we were going to bring.  Elaina ended up choosing The Sneetches and Fancy Nancy, but Dragons Love Tacos and Fox in Socks were definitely considered.  After that, it was easy:  Show up to Elaina’s class at the right time, read both books (with the voices, of course), and answer a dozen questions from inquisitive kindergarteners (Child: “Why does Nancy want to be so fancy?”; Me: “She watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s one too many times.  Next question please.”).  It is always a great idea to volunteer to support your child’s class when available.  It makes your child very proud that their Dad is participating in a school activity, and a plus is that they get to see you during the school day.  It also lets the teacher know that you are an active participant in your child’s education while being supportive of her program and activities.  Improving my daughter’s education and putting a smile on both of our faces… yes, please!  So, if you get the opportunity, volunteer to support your child’s class as a guest reader, chaperone, or by making or donating something to support their activities; you will not regret it.

Elaina’s Words to Live by: Volunteer for your daughter!

Thanks for checking in on us.

Cheers!

Long Time No Update

I think it is pretty safe to say that the last month has been a little rough for all of us.  I am certainly no different.  With a new job, the girls being gone for Spring Break, and the military preparation for COVID-19, the last two weeks in particular have been extremely difficult.  I just wanted to give a quick update to let everyone know that we are doing okay.  If there is anything that the Calkins Family does well, we endure, and tend to make the best of any situation.

Yep, they upgraded to a real trampoline.

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Finding Time for Rest & Relaxation

Any single parent is bound to tell you that it is difficult to fit in time for yourself or something other than child-related activities.  I assure you that I am no different.  When you get the chance though, I highly recommend taking it, as you do not know when you are going to get an opportunity again.  With my parents in town for the holidays, I definitely made good use of a few hours away from cleaning and making meals that will only be half eaten.

Pretty sure I got a double bogey on this hole…

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Elaina’s Graduation

There comes a time that when your little one grows up and finally leaves the nest.  But that will not be for another 13 years.  Elaina completed her Pre-Kindergarten class and had her graduation ceremony before she headed out to San Antonio, TX for the summer.  While it was just one of the many graduation or promotion ceremonies that she is likely that have over the next two decades, it still meant a lot to both of us.

The Proud Graduate

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Ponytails are just Perfect: A Dad’s Guide to Fixing your Daughter’s Hair

I have always been an active parent in my girls’ lives, and over the years through experience, I have acquired the skills needed to be an even better father.  Changing diapers and potty-training were easy (but thank God those stages are over).  Learning what colors and patterns match was a chore, but I eventually mastered it, with one of Gabriella’s teachers telling me last week that she never looks like “Dad dressed her.”  And cooking quality meals… I have been able to do that since I was ten, so no trouble there (Note: Getting my youngest to eat them is a completely different story though).  But once it was just me and them, there were only two things that I was seriously concerned about.  One of them I will have to deal with in about seven years… and the other is doing their hair.

Yep.  This post is going to be about pigtails, wide tooth combs, and unicorn hair ties… so try not to fall asleep.

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