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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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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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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Read Across America Week – Fox in Socks Day

Here is another short post from our support of Read Across America Week earlier in March at Elaina’s school.  They had a Fox in Socks Day, where every child was encouraged to wear crazy socks to school.  Elaina, being the perpetual overachiever that she is (so proud), wanted to wear socks on her hands as well.  Done.

The Eiffel Tower socks are due to her love of Fancy Nancy

This meant that we had to take a trip to Hobby Lobby (Yes, I will take any excuse!) to find her some new pairs of crazy socks.  As luck would have it, they had a three-pair set of French-themed socks covered in Eiffel Towers, macarons, and birds for Elaina, while Gabriella went with the more traditional mermaid-themed socks (Gabriella, of course, wants to participate in any activity that Elaina is a part of; as much as they fight, and they do, Gabriella loves her sister and wants to be just like her).  Not much to it other than that, but any activity that gets my girls excited about school is a win.  And now they have a ready supply of fancy socks, so double-win, I guess.

Yep, we do matching hair ties as well in our family

Thanks for checking in on us.

Cheers!

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!

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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