Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Planning The Perfect Quarantine Birthday Party

 It's birthday time again, which rolls around quite often for me due to having four kids and birthday time usually means planning some kind of celebration.  Whether it's a huge party, a fun adventure or a weekend trip away, some planning usually goes down when it comes to birthdays around here.  

If it's a party, I am typically elbow deep in the planning process by now, writing my guest list and making and sending invitations.  I would have already searched the web for party ideas related to my theme, had some sort of menu in mind and mapped out how I want to set up the decorations. The venue would be set and prepaid for and my room would be over-run with party essentials.  I would be a little stressed but having a blast at the same time.  Party planning is fun for me and the actual party itself is usually a huge hit because of my careful and diligent planning process.

If it's a fun adventure, there really isn't much planning involved. As the kids get older, they tend to prefer a fun experience of their choosing like heading to the roller skating rink or the trampoline park followed by dinner at their favorite restaurant.  Of course, I would still try to do something extra special like put up a few balloons or some other decorative accents for the day. Then we would end the celebration at home with cake and a song.

If we end up taking a birthday trip, there is some planning involved, just of a different kind.  Hubby and I would research hotels and fun activities to do with the birthday child at their vacation destination of choice.  These are the kinds of celebrations hubby prefers as it's not only a celebration for the birthday child but a fun family bonding experience as well.

And no matter which type of celebration we choose, I also like to do something extra for the kids at school.  With the teacher's permission, I usually bake a few cupcakes and include the entire class in a quick birthday celerbation for each of my children, while they still let me.  It's fun for them, feeling extra loved on their birthday and it's fun for their friends getting to share in their day.

This year, birthdays have been even more low key than normal.  I have done my best making the day that much more special,  catering each celebration unique to the child. But with my two oldest, that was easy.  With my 6 years old's birthday coming up, he has been looking forward to a party and that just isn't really possible.  So to make up for that, I have decided to have an intimate gathering at home, giving him the party he wants just on a much smaller scale. 

We've picked the theme and I've chosen the color scheme.  I've bought a few decorations and will be keeping the food simple by ordering out as there won't be too many people to feed.  And as for cost, since I won't have a large guest list, I won't be spending money on goody bags, favors or professional entertainment.  Planning the perfect quarantine birthday party is challenging but it can be done. My little prince will have his special day and I get to plan the perfect celebration despite the circumstances.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Lets Try This Again

Hubby finally gave in, the pull was just too strong and we are giving it another go.  If at first you don't suceed, try and try again, right?  So we have booked another beach vacation and hopefully we make it to the beach this time.

Laws are still changing weekly so we have to take the new rules and restrictions into account but we are hopeful and hubby is much more excited this time around.  We are going with a few of our friends and their families so it'll be a nice size group of us, which will kick things up a notch on the fun quotient.  

Hubby did the searching this time around and booked a really nice hotel resort with a sizeable pool for the kids to basically live in while we're there.  And the hotel resort is right on the beach so that means waking up to the sound of distant waves and a short enough walk to enjoy all of natures watery beauty.  I cannot wait to go.

Here's to an amazing long awaited family beach getaway.  Fingers crossed we actually get our vacation this time.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Finally Getting Some Help

Keeping a clean home with four kids isn't always easy, especially when all four kids are home all the time 24/7.  I have always been a neat and organized person and I try to instill these qualities in my kids.  But no matter how hard I try, they are just messy creatures at heart and so I struggle everyday to keep up wth my household duties.

Don't get me wrong, my house stays clean and organized for the most part.  On any given day, you can walk into my home and it is neat and tidy and ready to welcome guests.  But it's because of my daily habits and the constant reprimands to my kids why my house stays clean.  I have to admit, I am kind of OCD about having my house look a certain way, everything has a place and everything in it's place at all times, usually.  Honestly, it gets exhausting being such a neat freak all the time.  I had to finally let go of some of the control and enlist help.

After years of waiting, the day has finally come when I don't have to do everything myself anymore.  The kids are getting older and they are now able to take on more responsibilities.  I no longer have to do it all by myself.  I can ask for help, I can make them pitch in and do their part.  After all, most of the mess belongs to them.  So I recently started giving them incentives to help out more on top of their regular everyday chores.  With payment involved, my kids can now help vacuum, dust, clean the bathrooms and mop the floors.  Having them decide which chore they'd like to get paid to do has lessened my work load at home significantly.  Plus it's a way for them to earn extra money, which teaches them about financial responsibility.  They can now save for items they covet and learn the value of money and how much certain items cost.  To be honest, it's a win win situation for everyone involved and I could not be more happy.

Will They Or Won't They

That is the game we seem to be playing these days, as we all seem to be stuck in a limbo as to when life will return to "normal".  One of the questions that is on every parents mind right now, is will kids be going back to school or won't they?  Will classes resume to normal or will we continue distance learning through the end of the year?  September is fast approaching and no one has any answers.

According to the health administration, cases are still spiking regardless of the lockdown procedures in place. Hundreds of people are still without jobs as many businesses have been forced to close their doors temporarily due to Covid restrictions.  How many of these businesses will be able to reopen after being hit with so much economic struggles and how many people will be without work indefinitely? 

The economy has slowed to a crawl and many fear it will eventually callapse.  People are getting desperate and yet the restrictions are still in place in spite of the fact that cases are still on the rise.  With so much uncertainty, it's a wonder schools are in the state they are in.   I guess all we can do is hope and wait and see what the future holds.  And if I have to keep the kids home from school and continue distance learning until the end of the year, then that is just what I will do. However, a lot of students will fall behind and the educational system will suffer for it.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Cancelled Plans For Vacation

I guess we'll just have to plan a vacation another time because the little mini getaway I had planned for the family was cancelled amid new lockdown laws put in place in Costa Rica.  As sad and disappointed as I was cancelling our little vacation, it was kind of inevitable.

Due to a spike in new Covid 19 cases in the country, Costa Rica implemented a new, more severe lockdown plan for the entire country and that put our road trip at risk.  Feeling uneasy about the whole trip, hubby decided it would be best to cancel than be caught up in the whole debackle of the new road rules. Luckily for us, we were able to cancel our reservation without incurring the normal cancellation fees, even though we cancelled the night before our intended trip.

I can't say it enough but I cannot wait for life to get back to "normal". It's been months now, and things seem to be getting worse before they get better and there seems to be no end in sight.  Schools are at a stand still as far as what to do about reopening for the rest of the year. Businesses are being closed due to the severe downturn in the ecomony. And many people are jobless or homeless.  I am still in awe at how a virus has brought the entire world to a standstill and shut down everything.  I feel like I'm in a movie.

Costa Rica mandates all businesses that aren't essential to be closed. Families are struggling and kids are being left behind academically, yet the goverment still insists on mandatory lockdown.  With all these closures, it will be a wonder anything is left to open back up when the time comes.  I have to remain optimistic however, and look forward to a better future while hoping for the best for everyone. Because in reality, life as we know it will never be the same again.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

I Finally Just Did It

I've been wishing for it and talking about it for sometime now and a few days ago, I finally just went ahead and did it.  I booked a little mini vacation! It's been on my mind for a few months now and because of the quarantine situation, we were locked down and prevented from going anywhere.  Planning a vacation was out of the question.  But my heart longed for the beach and ocean waves and some time away from the real world.

Once hotels were alowed to open back up, I decided to reserve a hotel close to home but at the beach, a way to get away without being too far away.  Did that make sense? I wanted the beach life but with the convenience of being just a short driving distance from the comforts and safety of home.  So we are going back to Jaco for the second year in a row. Last year this time, we went to Jaco as a backup to our initial beach vacation and it turned out to be an amazing trip. I have no expectatations of this upcoming trip as I know things will be different.  For starters, we know the beach is officially closed. And we know about the whole social distancing protocols and obligatory masks. But we plan to make it a memorable trip regardless.

Vacation means time to relax and rest. Its a time to actualy BE with family without all the distractions we have when we're home. It's a wonderful time and I know we will make the best of it.  We booked a quaint little condo style apartment so that we still have the feel of a home away from home plus there is a pool which is always a bonus.  And since beaches are closed, having access to a pool was a must. To be honest, I am just thrilled we got to plan a family trip with everything going on and I am ectatstic to be at the beach on vacation with my hubby and our kids.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Just Thinking Out Loud

A reminder came up on my phone calendar the other day about the first down payment for my son's graduation dance party.  The first payment I would have had to pay to secure my son's spot at his 6th grade prom.  In Costa Rica, middle schools out do themselves with the most massive graduation dance parties for the kids, a special graduation gift as a send off to high school in style.

The kids dress up in their best outfits; the girls in sparkly, frilly, fancy dresses and the boys in a rented suit and tie.  The venue is usually decked out in festive lights, beautifully decorated tables and centerpieces and a deliciously catered meal. A DJ spinning all the latest jams and a few fun surprises are also thrown into the mix.  It's supposed to be the culmination of all the hard work achieved for the year by all the students. It's the fun farewell before the actual graduation day.

It's a day everyone looks forward to, with girls dress shopping months in advance for the big event and the boys working on their dance moves on the daily. However, the reminder got me thinking that with everything going on this year with the pandemic, will the kids get a graduation dance party this year?  Obviously, it's the least of our worries but it's also something I think we as parents should talk about.  In the states and even a few schools here decided to forgo an actual graduation event for the kids.  Proms were cancelled and kids were devasted.  Their special events were taken away from them and they were stripped of that one opportunity to say an actual goodbye, a proper farewell to the end of an era.  We still have a few more months ahead of us before any decisions can be made, but I won't be surprised if dances and even actual graduation events are cancelled at the end of the year.  This was a random blog but I was just thinking out loud.