Elaina’s Horseback Riding Lessons

We are always looking for routine activities to get involved in, but recently the options have been less than stellar for the girls and I. They are both lukewarm on getting back into soccer and Gabriella changes her mind daily on if she would prefer karate or gymnastics; I think Elaina would excel in volleyball or basketball, but she just has no desire to play either. So obviously Horseback Riding was the next logical step…

Dressed for Success!
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Making Tamales with my Niñas

Every weekend, before we go to the commissary, I always ask the girls what they would like to eat for the week. While this usually results in responses such as Burger King or Chipotle from Gabriella, Elaina knows that this specifically refers to home-cooked meals. The follow-on question for Elaina is “What do you want to cook / bake with me this week?” Since she has advanced quite beyond macaroni & cheese and chocolate chip cookies, the possibilities of what we can make together are expanding exponentially. This week she wanted to make tamales, and since it seemed challenging and was new to me, that is exactly what we did.

“Keep going. Only a hundred or so more to go.”
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Arts & Crafts on Fort Huachuca – Episode II

Now that the girls have been back for a month, we are finally getting back to our usual activities. Pajama Night at Cochise Theater on Fridays. Arts & Crafts on Saturdays. And Bowling and errands on Sundays. Last week the girls wanted to drop by the Fort Huachuca Arts & Crafts Center to paint some more ceramics. Given that it is still a fun, cheap, and safe activity that provides hours of enjoyment, peace, and quiet, you know I was in.

Arts & Crafts has never been so fun and safe!
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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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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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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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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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Milestones Update (or Gabriella Can Ride a Bike too!)

After Elaina learned to ride a bike without training wheels, Gabriella and I were very excited to get her to do it as well. We were a little too busy during the week to put some serious work into it, so we went out on Saturday evening to get Gabriella to ride on her own. I expected us to be there an hour or so, with the hopes that maybe she would get pretty close… we were there about a minute before she was riding on her own.

Wow… that happened rather quickly…
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