Birthdays and holidays are tricky enough to make special during average times.
Figuring out the right activities, the perfect restaurant, who to invite, what gifts to get…
Now add in a quarantine.
Tricky becomes even tricker.
Especially when kids are involved.
My stepdaughter’s birthday, and my stepson’s best friend’s birthday, both happened in the past few weeks.
Tricky stuff, made trickier.
But we were determined to make both days special, gosh darn it — social distancing or not.
My stepson’s friend’s 14th
• THE RIGHT CARD: Laughing is even more critical these days, so my stepson made sure to choose a card that was overloaded with ridiculous puns (coffee-related, so I approved even more)
• VIDEO GAME PARTY: His friend hosted a virtual party through their gaming system, so friends could join in and play games together
• CAKE TIME: We joined the family via videochat for the cake-cutting.
• THE VISIT. YES, THE VISIT: We even drove over to his friend’s house and were able to chat with the family through the second-story window. And yes, the four of us TOTALLY sang happy birthday in the driveway 😉
It was fun to be part of someone else’s day — and I wasn’t the only one who thought so.
“Today was an awesome day,” my stepson said when it was time for bed.
My stepdaughter’s 9th
Since the quarantine kicked in full-swing, we changed up our custody routines so the kids are with us for longer stretches of time: one week on, one week off.
My stepdaughter’s birthday fell at the end of a week she was at our house.
Which gave us the chance to plan some cool and/or ridiculous surprises.
• VIDEO NOTES: We’d asked friends, classmates, family and her teacher to send little happy-birthday video clips — which my husband compiled with music, so she could see how many people were thinking about her.
• SHE SAW THE SIGN: My husband had found a GIGANTIC canvas on the side of the road a while ago (yay free stuff). Spraypaint + some little balloons we scrounged up in the basement, and boom — a birthday wish almost as big as she is.
• SCAVENGER HUNT Getting presents is just fine. But having to FIND the presents turns an activity into an **ACTIVITY** 😉 😉 😉 We individually wrapped each little thing to make as many mini-presents as possible, and hid ‘m all over the house after the kiddos went to bed.
• INVOLVING THE GRANDPARENTS: In the morning, we called in the grandparents via videochat so they could be a part of the scavenger hunt shenanigans — and let the birthday girl loose. The kid even had to do challenges as part of the hunt, like lifting weights and doing a little game of charades.
• OBSTACLE COURSE: The final scavenger-hunt gift was “hidden” on top of her dad’s car — but to get to it, she had to complete an entire chalked-out adventure of obstacles all over the driveway! Hopping on one foot, cartwheeling, handstands, running backwards … (we made her work for her presents haha)
• THE PARTY. YES, THE PARTY: That afternoon, her mom came over to our house, and the five of us celebrated with pizza, ping pong and pool. Her mom even baked her an awesome rainbow cake!
The best part was how happy the kid was all day.
Quarantine affects each of us differently, and she’d had a bit of a rough week. So to see how excited she was for all the wackiness we threw at her, made it all worth it.
What events are YOU celebrating in quarantine?
Mother’s Day has happened already, Father’s Day is coming up. My parents’ anniversary and our own anniversary are both this week. And I can’t imagine how it must be for people graduating high school and college
Best wishes to all of us out there trying to make the most of each day at home.