Selah turns 11

Selah’s birthday landed on a Sunday this year, which, in my kids’ eyes, always makes life extra special. When special events fall on a Sunday, that means we get to celebrate with our church family! Our church is quite small–we have around 120 each Sunday–and so it truly feels like family. And in this small church of ours, there are FOUR people whose birthdays fall on October 8th like Selah! To make it even more extraordinary, two of those people are a mother-son pair. Wouldn’t it have been amazing if Brian would have been born one day later, and then we would have had a father-daughter pair as well! Our friend surprised the quad with a yummy birthday cake and everyone sang happy birthday to them at lunch. It was so special.

Though the sweet little boy in the top picture absolutely adores Selah, he wasn’t particularly keen on everyone singing so loudly 🙂

We ended up taking home Selah’s best friends from church and having a party that afternoon.

I ended up planning an “Escape Room” type party for her…I had very little capacity, but with Elliott’s help we totally pulled it off. It was so much fun planning everything out with him! And he even said it was more fun planning it than actually experiencing it! We did some internet searching and he helped me orchestrate everything.

The girls arrived to our living room, which was filled with balloons of many different colors, a Lego clue on the coffee table, and two locked suitcases in the corner.

They had to figure out that the Lego board was a clue, which meant they had to pop the balloons in that order (green, yellow, pink, red) in order to find a number in each one. Those numbers put together created a four-digit code, which opened up the smaller blue suitcase.

Inside the suitcase was a riddle that read: “What gets wetter and wetter the more it dries?”

Selah knew the answer immediately–a towel. They tried the guest bathroom towel first, but when they didn’t find anything they ran upstairs to the kids’ bathroom.

Pinned inside the towel was a message that needed decoding. The decoder was also pinned inside. The girls found it immediately and got right to work.

The code read, “Sometimes when you get in this, you might choose to sing a song, you can get wrinkly fingers, if you stay in this too long.”

They raced back to the bathroom and pulled open the shower curtain. There was what was supposed to be a bath bomb…it was more like a glob of baking soda/water, but it worked! They cracked it open and inside the bath bomb was the key to our UTV. As soon as Selah realized what it was, the girls ran (screaming) downstairs and outside to the UTV. Unfortunately, I did not realize that nobody (except one girl) thought to put their shoes on. Total mom fail.

They ran to the UTV, where Elliott happened to be waiting, and found this taped to the dashboard:

In case you don’t want to take the time to decode the top puzzle, it reads, “How many Austrian Pines did we plant?” The girls had to solve that puzzle and direct their chauffeur to bring them to the trees to count it. Second mom fail was that I couldn’t actually remember what the correct number was, and the girls kept coming up with different answers. I had to call Brian so he could confirm! Once we all finally figured out what the correct number was, they had to plug it into the equation in #2. Can you tell that Elliott came up with that?! Once they got THAT answer, Selah had to figure out that the answer to #2 was a code that opened a lock, and the lock was located under the biggest pine tree that we planted, as indicated by clue #3.

There’s nothing like walking across a property riddled with cacti WITH NO SHOES ON. Once they unlocked the padlock, they opened the suitcase to find the following code:

The answer was “a flag,” and we were hoping Selah would connect that Elliott just bought a flag to put up next to his fort. He has spent years working on this underground fort! She figured it out and we headed to the fort, where she immediately began searching. With no shoes on.

Pinned to the bottom of one of the pieces of plywood was the following riddle:

They had a LOT of trouble figuring this one out. With a few guiding questions, they finally figured out that the answer was “tomorrow.” When I asked where they thought they should go next, Selah immediately knew to go to the kitchen calendar, where she found the following:

In case you don’t know, Jill the hedgehog has been Selah’s pet since February. A picture of Jill on “tomorrow” directed the girls to Jill’s cage.

This was a bit of a stretch, but they needed to find the paper that said, “Pull here.” That paper was attached to a long piece of yarn. At the end of the yarn was a magnet and a piece of paper that read, “Tall when seated, short when standing.” They had to figure out that the answer was a dog. (That took a few minutes!) Selah has about 101 dogs in her room, but I placed one of her sitting stuffed dogs next to a jar of dyed water on her desk. They had to figure out to use the magnet on the end of the string to get the key inside the jar.

Once they retrieved the key, they knew it went to the lock on the suitcase in her room. Inside that suitcase was a printed out photo of our home library book shelves. Also in that suitcase was a piece of parchment paper. Elliott had cut a corner off on the upper ride side of the photo. They had to match the parchment paper, which also had the upper right corner cut off, over the photo. If they did so correctly, they could see where there was an “X” drawn on the parchment. The “X” marked our box set of The Iliad and The Odyssey.

The girls ran down to the library and found those books. They pulled them out and found the final clue inside–

They pretty quickly realized that this must be the clue that opened the other locked suitcase in the living room, where they began. There were two locks on that suitcase, and they had to figure out that they needed to type in 1008 (for 10-08, or October 8) on one pad lock, and 2012 (for the year she was born) on the other pad lock. Working together they eventually figured it out and found their awaiting prizes inside. Each girl got a nice wooden logic puzzle, two small metal logic puzzles, two spy pens and two notebooks, and these cute little hedgehogs! Each hedgehog base came with stickers that the girls could place on him. There were acorns and pumpkins and fall leaves–could anything be more perfect than little fall hedgehogs?! I just couldn’t resist.

Selah had requested English Muffin Individual Pizzas and Caesar Salad for dinner, so I set up a pizza bar, complete with English Muffins, pizza sauce, mozzarella, parmesan, olives, pepperoni, canadian bacon, and homemade bacon crumbles. The girls built their pizzas and then went out side to play while they cooked in the oven. They had a grand old time building obstacle courses and eating outside on our lawn. Then they enjoyed some ice cream for dessert.

Here are a spattering of other special photos from her birthday:

Elliott got her a stuffed hedgehog 🙂
At her request, I made mini fruit tarts to share at our weekly church pot luck on her birthday. Her new stuffed hedgehog helped her blow out the candles on her birthday mud pie.

Happy 11th birthday to our dear Selah B!!!

1 comment

  1. I applaud your incredible creativity in both puzzles and food! Don’t know WHERE you got that creativity, but I’m so glad you spend it on your children, as well as our big family occasions. Thank you.

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