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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Getting Through the Holidays

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday.  While the turkey and pumpkin pie are always amazing, it is family and cooking together that makes the holiday truly special for me.  Christmas has always been a distant second, but I have a newfound appreciation for it now that I have children.  It is so nice to see them get involved with the Elf on the Shelf, writing letters to Santa, and the smile on their faces Christmas morning is simply priceless.  Until last year, I had been lucky enough to have spent every single Thanksgiving and Christmas day with my family, which can be pretty hard for someone in the military.  Unfortunately, to reach a compromise that would give me primary custodianship of my girls, I agreed that their mother could have them for Thanksgiving every year, which was really tough to give up, and Christmas every other year.  This is the first year that we are executing our Parenting Plan with their mother getting visitation rights during Thanksgiving and Christmas in the same year, which makes for a really lonely holiday season for this single Dad.  So with my girls enjoying Christmas with their mother, her family, and her new fiancé (yes, already), the holiday season is forcing me to cope with this as best as I can and to try to figure out where to go from here.

Our Happy Family

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