With Heather's birthday we've now celebrated the entire family's birthdays for 2020 in quarantine.
Her birthday was a work & school day. Much of the day was spent trying to get Heather to complete her school work so we could move on to fun activities. We eventually got on with things and the requisite treasure hunt was a big hit. This year's hunt involved playing a custom-coded guessing game on the computer, decoding a message encrypted using a substitution cipher, some math word problems, and completing some electronic circuitry.
Birthday dinner was McDonald's cheeseburgers (because what could be better than that?). Then she opened presents before having cake. Corinne thought up and picked out a Toothless stuffed animal (the dragon from "How to Train your Dragon") to give her and Heather is enamored of it. She puts one of her old nightgowns on it at night to keep it warm and it travels with her throughout the house during the day.
This year's cake was a white cake with vanilla-cream filling, chocolate frosting, and decorated with Andes mints. Unfortunately, like last year, she wasn't particularly thrilled with it. So she'll have to pick another new cake next year.
While we were eating cake she seemed a bit down. After some probing she admitted to having been a bit let down by her gifts. She liked them all, but was hoping for some Je-ne-sais-quoi delight that didn't materialize. And I know the feeling. I've had that experience too. It's not that there's some particular thing that you're hoping for (otherwise you could say so and increase your chances). You're just hoping for some unexpected surprise and it doesn't always happen (nor is it always specifically hoped for either). Some language probably has a word for it.
We'll see if we can land a hit at Christmas. I spent some time looking for ideas and think I found something that will fit the bill.
Jess wanted to go to the beach for her birthday. So we packed into the van with our social-bubble buddies and headed out to Half Moon Bay. We pre-ordered some sandwiches from Subway and ate lunch next to the ocean.
The girls had a blast playing in the water and people were generally pretty good about distancing and mask wearing. The parking lot was full, but it didn't feel really crowded. Maybe that's because it was foggy and you couldn't see very far down the length of the beach.
Corinne eventually got cold and fell asleep hunched over on the sand.
Then she decided that on me was the only acceptable place to rest.
Once we'd had our fill of the beach we went to get gelato. This was a tactical mistake. The gelato shop was up the road away from the route home. And the way back was bumper-to-bumper traffic of people trying to head home from the coast.
So a short gelato trip added over an hour of additional drive time to get home (which is only about 1 hour anyway). But we eventually got home at which point it was dinner time. We had to parallelize our remaining celebrations in order to get things done in time for the girls' bedtime. Jess got the girls bathed while I heated up some chicken strips for them to eat. Then Jess blew out candles (all 40 of them!) on the cake I made and opened presents. By that time our dinner order was ready so I went to pick that up while Jess got the girls in bed.
Jess decided that my birthday cake is so good that she should have it for her birthday too. So that's the cake I made--chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, complete with Kyle's special, vanilla-cream filling.
And that's 3 of 4 family birthdays this year celebrated under the ongoing stay-at-home order and it looks like Heather's will be the same.
After celebrating Corinne's birthday at the very start of the quarantine I honestly didn't think we'd still be quarantined by the time my birthday rolled around. But here we are.
I started my day by working in my closet. Then lunch in the kitchen and back to my closet for more work. Very exciting.
Once I was done with work, I opened presents:
Here Heather is using her "Poison Rod" to protect me.
The girls gave me new sets of miniatures to use in our Dragon Strike games. Corinne here has her "Fire & Ice staff."
Jess gave me a set of fancy vanilla extracts: Tahitian, Mexican, and Madagascar Bourbon types. I need to come up with a dish to make to let us taste test them.
A careful observer might wonder why the box on the right says "VHS" on it. That's the Stranger Things seasons 1 & 2 sets which are packaged to look like 80s-style tapes.
After presents I picked up some Mexican food for dinner from Anita's Tacqueria. Since no one else likes Mexican food, Jess made pasta for everyone else. After dinner we needed some time to digest before having cake. So I played a video game for a little while.
We didn't have enough candles, so I told Jess to use a binary representation. Since the cake is facing me you have to read the binary backwards. So the right-most candle represents a "one" for 32 then there are 3 "zeroes" for 16, 8, & 4 and finally 2 "ones" for 2 & 1.
After dessert the girls headed off to bed and Jess and I watched the 1971 classic movie The Andromeda Strain.
Even with the world melting down, not everything stops. So on Tuesday we celebrated Corinne's birthday. Normally I would pare down the number of pictures I include in a post, but I think right now we could all use a little extra unbridled joy.
She had an absolutely fantastic day. After lunch she did her first birthday-treasure-hunt. Heather read the clues for her and she made mad dashes around the house to find the next thing as she solved each rhyme.
Once the presents were discovered in the bench we headed back inside to open them.
After presents I had to "go" back to work (meaning, hide in my closet/office). When I "got home" at the end of the day we had dinner and then it was time for the pink cake.
Corinne was having a hard time holding in her excitement.
And she was very pleased by the smoke trails.
Happy birthday little girl. I'm glad you could enjoy the day and not be weighed down by the cares of the world.
Heather came home from school to find her bedroom door had been "locked." But she had to wait for me to get home from work before she could follow the clues to open the door. (Meanwhile a plumber worked on clearing our clogged drain line, so there was plenty of entertainment in the interim.)
She followed a series of "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" style "Listener Limerick Challenges" to find each new clue and solve a math problem to get the correct digit for the lock combination.
Inside she discovered her new loft bed, which she is ecstatic about.
We opened some more presents and then off to a late dinner at the Ale House.
After dinner, we had the Andes Chocolate Mint cake that Jess made: