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!

Calkins Family Christmas

It took a long time, but I finally got around to our Christmas post.  You have seen us put the ornaments on the tree, play in the snow, and take part in numerous holiday activities, but the short lead-up to Christmas Day deserves its own post.  Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Calkins Family Christmas!

Arizona Christmases definitely include cacti and rattlesnakes

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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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Merry Christmas from the Calkins Family

I will post a good summary of our Christmas holiday later, but wanted to wish all of you a Merry Christmas, from my family to yours.

Different Card; Same Adorable Niñas

This is our family Christmas card that we sent out this year.  Bill Bonner at Reign Photography took our pictures for the second consecutive year, which we were obviously very happy with.  Thanks again, Bill.

It was honestly really tough to fit an entire year into an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper…

Along with our Christmas card, we also sent out our Year in Review.  While I have seen them, I had never done one before, and I will admit that it was quite hard to condense our amazing year down to a few bullet points.  For followers of this blog, you probably read the first-hand account from most of these adventures, but there may be a few new ones that snuck in there.

Actual Gabby Quote: “I want a unicorn… and a girl to ride the unicorn… oh, and I’ve been a really good girl… so please get me that.”

Since most of you probably did not get these in the mail, the girls and I just wanted to wish you and your families a Merry Christmas.  I hope you all have a great holiday season and I will try to get in another post before we head to Great Wolf Lodge in Scottsdale for New Year’s.

Thanks for checking in on us.

Cheers!

Night of Extraordinary Lights Holiday Village

There is no shortage of things to do around the holidays.  Unfortunately for us, any activity, especially one in Tucson, takes away from preparing for the girls’ grandparents to arrive on Christmas week.  Thankfully, Fort Huachuca has plenty of holiday events.  And when one of the biggest of the season is literally a block from our house, there is really no excuse not to grab the girls and join in on the fun.

The girls started off the Christmas season by each eating an untoasted marshmallow from the S’mores station… absolute sacrilege.

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It’s Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas

While developing a routine for yourself and your children is absolutely critical to being a successful single parent, anything that falls outside of that routine needs to be made into an event, to be lifted up as a spectacle.  Whether it is going to Grandma’s house, the zoo, or the children’s museum, every event needs to be celebrated and made into something uniquely memorable.  Christmas itself is enough to celebrate, but it is important to make all the little things that are a part of Christmas an event themselves.  Here’s to the 3rd Annual Calkins Family Christmas Tree Decoration Event!

I hope the girls know that this is the “before” picture…

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