COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A few kids weren’t expecting their dad for a little while longer.

“They’ve been keeping track on a calendar, you know, every day that we talk, they ask me, you know, ‘Has the date changed? Is it still 20 days left? Is it still 10 days left?” said Cpt. Marco Andrade, who is based out of Fort Carson.

Thanks to some help from Springs Ranch Elementary, Andrade surprised his three children during what the kids were told would be an assembly.

“We just thought it was going to be like, a news person just like, talking to us about the news and asking us questions about it,” said 8-year-old Amaia Andrade.

“Meteorologist just coming, telling us about the weather and saying, ‘okay, today’s weather is blah, blah, blah,” said 9-year-old Marco Andrade.

“But we had no idea that our dad was actually going to be behind the curtain,” Amaia said.

However, his youngest seemed to have a clue.

“I saw somebody’s face behind the curtain. I did see somebody’s face. Yes, I knew it ’cause he had brown, and my dad is normally brown,” said 6-year-old Yencarlos Andrade.

It’s Andrade’s third time deploying away from his family – this time to Afghanistan for 9 months.

He  says there’s always a lot of emotion built up when he comes home.

“It’s a great feeling, knowing that I’m able to hung them again, that I’m able to spend time with them. It’s those moments that you cherish when you’re gone,” Andrade said.

“Here’s my activity list – no iPad, no technology, just playing with dad,” Marco said.

“We’re going to play with my dolls. I have like 30 of them, but only one boy doll,” Amaia said.