Milestones or: How Elaina Learned to Stop Worrying and Ride a Bike Without Training Wheels

There are certain moments in the lives of your children that bring you indescribable joy when they are reached, such as walking for the first time, speaking their first word, or learning to tie their shoes, just to name a few. As the title implies, Elaina hit one of those milestones last weekend by learning to ride her bicycle without training wheels. As a parent, it both lets you know that you did something right and that your child is developing on schedule. I am so proud of her. And of course, as much as she denies it, Gabriella wants to be just like her big sister and tried it too (she is almost there).

“On your mark. Get set. Read!”
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Elaina and Gabriella’s First Day of School (2020 Edition)

Today was Elaina and Gabriella’s first day of school.  Elaina started 1st grade and Gabriella started Kindergarten, and it was the first day that they would both be going to the same (real) school together, Colonel Johnston Elementary School.  While it is certainly sad seeing my little girls grow up, I could not be more proud of them.  Thankfully, the months and months they spent waiting for this day were definitely worth it.

It seems like only yesterday I was writing about Elaina’s first day of Kindergarten…

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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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And Coronavirus Promoted Me to Teacher…

While kids worldwide are ecstatic about school being cancelled for the rest of the year, parents quickly found out that they were not quite off the hook.  Instead of just helping their kids with their homework and reading to them at bedtime, we became their primary teachers overnight (Note: This is in no way a slight to actual teachers, as they still have to assign and grade the coursework.  They also miss their kids like crazy).  It was a little difficult at first, but like all things with single parenting, you eventually get the hang of it.

Gotta get that “G” right, otherwise all hope is lost

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Single Dadding in the Time of COVID

So by now, most of us are probably bored out of our minds being stuck at home.  While I still have to go in to work (being mission-essential and all), the girls are definitely getting tired of being cooped up in the house most of the weekend.  But, pandemic or not, good parenting never stops and we are still driving on with our routine (albeit a safer one).

Swimming, Trampolining, and Cookies are where it’s at!

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Elaina’s Talent Show

About two weeks before COVID-19 changed everything, we were busy preparing Elaina for her talent show at the Seifert School Age Center (SAC).  She was planning to sing “Into the Unknown” from Frozen II with some of her friends, so we brought out the karaoke machine that she got for Christmas and started practicing.  Yep, it is another post about taking time away from your busy day at work to support your child and their activity.

Starting to see a theme here…

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“Hunting the Good Stuff”

During this time of uncertainty, sometimes it is really tough to think positive.  But we must carry on and try to find the silver lining in all this.  In the Army, we call this “Hunting the Good Stuff.”  In essence, you may be in a bad situation, but try your best to look on the bright side.  And we do, because that is how the Calkins Family does it.

I got served the same food right after this picture was taken (and I ate all of it, I swear!)

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Dr. Seuss’ Birthday (Character Day)

March 2-6 was Read Across America Week at COL Johnston Elementary School.  Elaina was pretty pumped for it, with every day having a special theme.  And of course, Gabriella, always wanting to be like her big sister, got in on the fun too.  Dr. Seuss’ birthday was that Monday and the school celebrated by having a Dr. Seuss Character Day.  While we are certainly not the greatest at arts & crafts or DIY, events like these keep us smiling while improving on our skills.

Both with Stars upon thars

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Snow Day!

My Mom only wanted one thing for Christmas, and that was for it to snow in Southern Arizona.  It happened for a few days last year, but it did not seem like it was going to happen over the holidays this time.  She must have been on the “Nice” list this year, as she got her wish right before they headed back home.

Pretty sure I am about to be hit with a snowball…

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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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