Monday, February 19, 2024


It has become tradition. Every Thanksgiving morning we send our kids on a treasure hunt that takes days to prepare and hours to complete, and the kids - from old to young - love it. 

They are invited to a shared folder that contains files of sequential clues, each one password protected. As they solve riddles and complete tasks and gather information from around the city, they slowly uncover the password to the next clue, and the next, and the next, until they eventually find the hiding place of the treasure.

This year they traveled to parks, libraries, schools, local restaurants, hiking trails, and even spent a portion playing a mandatory game of pickleball. 

Sometimes they find letters and numbers - either by following clues to specific signs or by counting specific objects or by solving riddles - to assemble a password on their own. Sometimes they must complete tasks - like climbing a specific tree or flying a kite down Main Street - and send us pictures and videos of the task to receive the next password, but each password performs the same task: it opens the next file in the folder where they can find the next clue to their next quest, all in an effort to unlock the final clue which will lead them to the location of their treasure.

Meanwhile, while the children are out, we adults prepare Thanksgiving dinner, and we track them, and oh how we laugh at their pictures and videos. This year, the aforementioned pickleball game was strategically placed two thirds of the way through their hunt, and when they arrived at the courts, we adults hopped in the car to take them snacks and water.

They are all such. good. kids.

Eventually they discovered their treasure in an old amazon box sitting at the back of a DI trailer in our church's parking lot. They brought it home and divvied out the goods.

This is the third year in a row we've done this hunt, and the most successful. We've learned a thing or two from mistakes in the past (last year's hunt ended up being so long and difficult that most of the kids gave up halfway through), and we're getting better. I can see my old grandma self doing this for my grandkids someday.
The timing couldn't have been better. The kids came home with their treasure after the table was all set, the food was coming out of the oven, and we were all hungry.

We love being with the Birdnos. They have been family friends for the past 20 years, and we love them deeply. We have raised our kids together and supported each other through some hard and terrible and wonderful things. 

And one thing always stays the same:

We always end Thanksgiving night with far more pies than people.

My kids view their kids like cousins, and we always have an amazing time together. 

One of the best things about having Thanksgiving with the Birdnos is that they come up and stay for the whole weekend... so Thanksgiving Weekend is really the holiday we celebrate. I'll blog about the other activities that filled our weekend in a bit, but for the time being, I'll leave you with two more Thanksgiving Weekend scenes. 

First, teenage boys and leftovers. 

And second, making music from garbage.

We feel blessed to have such good friends in our lives and in the lives of our kids.

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