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.
It is that time of year again to receive candy from others… no, not Halloween… not Easter… we do seem to have a lot of these… it is Valentine’s Day! Which comes with the annual card exchange at Elaina and Gabriella’s schools. Elaina had to make a box at home to receive all her cards, and while none of us are particularly amazing at arts & crafts, we managed to get our projects completed on time and in style.
Last week, Elaina received a flyer in her take-home folder about a project. To celebrate the 100th day of school, the students were to create a t-shirt using the number 100 and wear it to school on Tuesday. While I am not necessarily the best at DIY projects, after a visit to Pinterest and then Hobby Lobby, Elaina (and Gabby!) and I were ready to get to work.
A couple weeks ago, Elaina’s best friend, Elora, invited Elaina and Gabriella over for a play date with her and her sister, Emma. Since we had not already planned our activity for that Saturday, the girls gladly took them up on the offer, “scheduling” a home-and-home (for all you college football fans) with her parents for this and the following weekend.
It is really funny how fast things can get out of hand. When the girls came home from Texas on Sunday, I had Halloween sugar cookies waiting for them. This led Elaina to ask if we could bake and decorate cookies next weekend. Sounded like a plan, one that would be fun and fairly easy. While we were eating on the patio on Monday, my neighbor let me know that this was going to be their last weekend in Arizona before the Army shipped his family to Italy for three years, so it seemed right to invite them over for some cookies (and because their household goods are already packed up, their house is pretty much empty). As we were leaving for school, the girls spotted our other neighbor (whose son is in Elaina’s kindergarten class) and begged that they could come too. It still seemed to be manageable, so I did and they accepted. Elaina then told her best friend at school that she was having a cookie party, after which her friend begged to be invited. After I told Elaina that we could do that the Saturday after, her friend wrote a handwritten card to Elaina asking to please come to her cookie party. Like I was going to say no after that. So, I started planning for a Halloween cookie decorating party… for 17 (Note: One of the families cancelled the day before, so while it did not change the spread, the event itself was a lot more manageable).
So the girls and I have been to numerous zoos, normal or petting, but rarely do they ever intersect. Tigers and bears stay in regular zoos, while horses and goats are usually reserved for petting zoos. So the girls were very surprised to learn that there is an Ostrich Ranch right outside of Tucson and that you could actually feed them (they regularly see them from a distance at the Reid Park Zoo in Tucson). While initially a little reserved (their mother has a surprising fear of ostriches), they eventually gave in and ended up having a great time feeding (and sometimes petting) miniature donkeys, fallow deer, rabbits, and yes, even the ostriches.
So I picked up the girls from Texas almost a month ago and I am just now getting some time to write. And a lot has happened in that month. Elaina started Kindergarten and Gabriella started Pre-K. The girls are signed up for soccer. And I am crushing my new job and about to be promoted. Things are going well in the Calkins household. But as far as getting back into the routine of writing, I figured we should start with something small, like going to the movies. Good thing that The Lion King (live-action) was playing at the on-post theater… and that it was Pajama Night.
Family Game Night seems like a weeknight staple in the United States, but it can be a little difficult when you have a five and three year old. We still find time to get in a game every now and then though, as they are finally getting old enough to understand the rules and develop a seemingly coherent strategy. Coming from an avid board and miniatures gamer, it is good to see my girls get into the hobby, and it is great to have another activity we can do as a family.
“Dad, will you stop blogging and just pick a card with some colors on it?!?”
One day when my daughters and I were making sock puppets, Elaina very casually asked me to make her a puppet theater. She wanted it to be pink and purple, with pink curtains. Challenge accepted. While I am not much of a DIY person, this seemed like something fun that we could all do together as a family.
Anyone that refers to themselves as a nerd knows that there are many tiers of nerdom. For instance, liking Star Wars may seem a little nerdy, but since it has become pretty mainstream, it is certainly a low-threat. Liking Star Trek though, means that you are delving further down the rabbit hole. Everyone has a different scale too, one that likely includes less mainstream board games (check), Dungeons & Dragons (check), and even miniatures for wargaming that you painted yourself (*hangs head*… check). Of all the possible tiers for me, Live-Action Roleplaying (in tandem with cosplay) is my red line (for some it is Star Trek, others Dungeons & Dungeons, while some have nothing that is “too far”). Having said that up front though, I always aim to be a good friend first. And when my friend Steve invited my daughters and I to join him and the local Amtgard chapter at Veterans Memorial Park in Sierra Vista, we would not have missed it for the world.