For everyone who has followed Shindigz, you know that Wendy’s birthday celebration is always a major event for our family. And, this year, Wendy turned 49 and so the kids and I knew we had to step up our game. Making our challenge even greater is the fact that we are typically at a cottage in the wilds of Canada during the time of her birthday so our logistics become a bit more complex. But, we were game for the opportunity. So, the kids and I spent a lot of secret time in the weeks before the birthday plotting out our traditional “Wendy birthday present scavenger hunt”. Since Wendy has started cycling again, we decided to go with a “birthday triathlon” theme for this year.
So, early on her birthday she was greeted by the first of our birthday banners in the cottage living room. And a pile of lots of clues and directions. The clues are all written in rhyme and Chase and Madison had a great time until 1:30 am coming up with the rhymes for this year’s hunt.
Her first section of the triathlon was the bike—ok purists, I know the swim is first in a triathlon, but we had to make allowances for logistics. And she was instructed to ride with me to the nearest town 40 minutes away. So, off we went on a lovely morning and we arrived at a new local coffee shop/bakery that had just opened where the kids greeted us and we enjoyed an iced coffee while recovering from our ride. She was told in the note given to her by the owner of the shop that in order to get her next clue and present she had to do a headstand for 49 seconds in the shop. And, trooper that she was, Wendy did it and the crowd loved it. She was rewarded with a new pair of flip flops from the owner and given her next set of instructions.
She was to go next door to a new clothing shop that had opened—cool stuff—and she had 49 seconds to pick out an item and deliver it to the owner and then sing “oh Canada” to the owner to get the next present. The kids counted while she frantically shopped and negotiated for more time. Alas, no extra time was given, but she did complete the selection of a shirt and while singing “oh Canada” in her bike outfit, we had locals taking her picture in the store.
Next, it was off to another local store where she had to perform 49 crunches on the floor in front of the owner to get her next gift. Needless to say, Wendy was having to work in this triathlon!
She was then able to ride back to the cottage for the next phase of the tri—the run. So, off she went to the bridge where she secured a gift (half mile run) and then had to run another half mile to a trampoline where she did 49 seat drops and then run to the boathouse and then back to the cottage. Another fun hour of exercise and gifts and clues.
And then it was to the swim—the most grueling of the challenges. First, she had to head out in the boat with all of us and identify 49 islands. Not as easy as it sounds, but she has a sharp eye. Then the clue took her to a local marina where she had to hold 49 worms in her hands. I think this was the ickiest of them all particularly since worms are sold in groups of 24 and one poor soul had to be split in half to reach the magic 49.
Then it was swimming 49 strokes away from the boat and 49 strokes back. And, finally, she had to dive off the boat, climb rocks at the head of the island, dive in and swim a quarter mile back to the cottage to get her favorite gift—a new iPad.
So, some 6 hours after we started, Wendy had been given (earned?) all of her presents and adventure for the day. It was then off to dinner at a local restaurant for awesome food and a homemade birthday cake that was so good that Chase had 3 pieces by himself!
We certainly could have stopped there, but 49 is an important celebration. So, 3 days later we had the entire family—or at least most—on the island (count ‘em, 32 relatives) and so we scheduled a surprise birthday dinner in a local coach house on the water. We had banners and lots of mini-Wendy centerpieces as well as Wendy personalized chocolate bars and Wendy personalized b-day coasters. I think the best part of the night was watching the young kids play their version of “Go Fish” by playing “Go Wendy” with the coasters as playing cards. It was a great family night, and I think Wendy was truly surprised. Once we get a few photos from Wendy, we will post em up for you to see.
Have fun, be creative and make every day a party!
All the best, Shep