A Very miniVan Valentine’s

Valentine’s Day is typically one of those holidays that come and go with little notice from us. We give cards and use it as a good excuse to eat Indian food, but that’s about it.

This year things were different. Ari’s old enough to realize when a holiday is upon him, and he wanted to celebrate with great fanfare. He had plans. His plans started with wanting to decorate the van. No, not his room. Not the house. The minivan. I guess that’s how it all started. After I realized we were going to be decorating the van, I figured we better go somewhere and celebrate amidst the decor.

So Ari and I decided to plan a surprise party for Isaac and Dad. We whispered ideas back and forth, and as soon as Isaac went down for a nap, the crafting began. I have to admit, for someone with a crafting phobia (me), we did a pretty darn good job decorating.  I know I’m running the risk of becoming a pinterest sesation by showing you this, but I have to share.

Behold, the final product.

As we decorated we hatched the rest of our plan. The evening went mostly as planned, it unfolded like this:

  1. Eat dinner at home (breakfast food with muffins).
  2. Drive up to the forest to play games.
  3. Get to the trailhead, immediately realize I remembered everything but my shoes. Hike in my socks.
  4. Play Game 1: “Stick in a Bush”, a game Ari invented all by himself. You hike down the trail, find a bush with leaves on it, stand far away from the bush and try to throw a stick in it. It was a hit. Until Isaac got hit in the head with a stray stick.
  5. As soon as the sun starts to go down, head back to the van.
  6. Lay out the bouldering pad, get PJ’s on, unpack blankets and prepare for Game 2, the “surprise game”.
  7. Open the surprise game, realize it takes batteries, drive to a gas station, pay way too much for batteries, drive back into the forest.
  8. Play Game 2: Lets Go Fishin’ (with battery installed). Played by the light of the lantern while snacking on goldfish crackers and fruit.
  9. Star gazing from the van with some help from the star walk app. Diiiiidn’t go so well due to clouds, app failure, and Isaac all the sudden deciding he was afraid of the dark.
  10. Drive home, kids fall asleep in their car seats. Perfect.

I dare say we just might have started some sort of tradition… I don’t mind. It was definitely worth repeating. I highly recommend trying the van party.

Pics from the evenings festivities.

10 Comments so far

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  1. Kim

    Ari did a good job decorating the van. Wish I had thought of decorating my car…would have made the holiday a real holiday rather than just another day when I didn’t have an excuse to eat indian.

    • Kim – However, you did celebrate by eating antelope heart, so that’s pretty major! Ya, Indian food does sound a little better… And next year I’ll try to remember to send you some car decorations.

  2. trieste prusso

    pinned it….Love it…..

    • Trieste – Hahaaa, thanks. It had to have been the pom poms. Also, I was thinking the party would have been far greater in a VW…

  3. OMG – I LOVE this idea! It almost makes me wish we owned a mini-van. Stick in a bush sounds like a blast.

  4. julie

    way impressive. You not only decorated the van, but then you actually DROVE somewhere in it to celebrate, took pictures and then blogged about it. That is way intense. I am proud my friend.

  5. I love the van decorations, the fish game (what a clever idea! who ever thought of entertaining small children with a fishing game? ;), and the stick in a bush photos. I do have one complaint to lodge. How in the world do you manage to obscure your undoubtedly cute preggy belly in the *one* photo you’ve appeared in on your blog in many months? I feel cheated. :P

    • Kristal – Hahahaa. Must have been a subconscious decision, I didn’t even think of that! Besides, I’m past “cute” at this point and have moved on to “oh my, that poor girl”. You remember that stage with Isaac. When my Mom gasped in horror then laughed when she saw me… Ya. That’s where I am.

      I know, where could I have possibly come up with that fishing game idea? The other option was Hungry Hippos, a game Ari had apparently played at the “old Cora’s house” long ago. You guys must really know how to live it up!

  6. […] your adventures I don’t know if you saw, or remember my post last Valentines Day about our van party. There was a reason for this. I couldn’t walk very far, so instead of staying home with no […]


    I'm Lindsey. I'm an environmental educator, my husband's a biologist. The outdoors is infused into everything we do; which explains why I'm better at mud pies than home decorating. More About Me

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