In the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:11, it states that “when I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” This could easily be adopted to represent the transition between “childish” games and “adult” games, where the level of objectives and strategy go from simple to overly complex. While we are not yet at Star Wars: Armada, Twilight Imperium, or War of the Ring levels of gaming, if we keep this up, I bet we get there a little sooner than your average family.
During my initial counseling with my Commander in June, he tasked me with learning something new over the course of the next year. While my initial plans to learn to play the piano fell through (as time was starting to come up short and I was not going to be able to learn to play on my own), I eventually settled on archery. Since there was a range on post and it was much cheaper than some of my colleagues’ selections (like collecting trading cards or restoring an old grandfather clock), it seemed like a good choice. And of course, I was going to teach the girls to shoot as well, because that is just how we do things in our family.
If you have driven on Interstate 10 in Arizona or New Mexico, chances are you have seen at least one of the thousand billboards advertising The Thing, a roadside attraction / tourist trap in Southeastern Arizona. I can remember seeing these signs as early as 2002 when I was first stationed at Fort Huachuca, but probably saw them much earlier than that while passing through the Southwest with my Dad. Since we were about ready to leave Arizona, the girls decided that we needed to stop in and see what all the fuss was about.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.