Hoda Kotb opens up to PEOPLE about daughter Hope's extra-special first birthday and her family's Easter celebrations

By Jen Juneau and Charlotte Triggs
April 13, 2020 03:15 PM
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Hoda Kotb won’t be forgetting Sunday’s double celebration anytime soon!

The Today show star, 55, marked both Easter and her younger daughter Hope Catherine‘s first birthday with a low-key day of activities at home, and opens up to PEOPLE now about how she, Hope, 3-year-old Haley Joy and fiancé Joel Schiffman made their extended family part of the fun despite social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We did a little Zoom party. We baked the cake. Haley helped me bake it and then we Zoomed with my mom [Sameha Kotb], my sister who’s in Dubai, so it was midnight or something [over there],” Kotb says. “My brother, his wife and kids … and we did it in a playroom because we were trying to Zoom on TV.”

Credit: Hoda Kotb/Instagram. Inset: Arturo Holmes/Getty

“You should have seen our family’s ridiculous [conversation],” she continues. “I’m like, ‘ … turn yours down. I can’t see my mom. Mom, push the button on the right that says — no, the one that says “Gallery.” ‘ Joel looked at us like, ‘What is happening?’ But your truth comes out … all your weirdness of your family is on full display.”

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Hoda Kotb’s family on Zoom call

Kotb and Schiffman, 62, dyed eggs with their girls, too — and the family “had so many great surprises that were just such so delightful” during the day.

“I got a text [saying], ‘Go out on your front porch.’ And I go out there and the Easter Bunny, of course, [left goodies], and my friend Kathy Ryan had left a big pink ball and a tee-ball thing,” she tells PEOPLE.

“Eddie, my friend who drives [me to work] showed up and he made a chalk heart in front of our house and he was wearing a Cookie Monster onesie that he bought,” Kotb adds. “I was so touched. … He said, ‘I was hoping it would arrive by Easter.’ I was like, ‘Oh my God.’ Everybody’s goodness was on full display.”

In general, there’s a lot of “divide and conquer” going on in Kotb and Schiffman’s household as they adjust to a new routine amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

“You get it done,” she tells PEOPLE of their parenting dynamic. “It’s funny because the kids’ bedtime used to be 6:15. [Now] I’m like, ‘5:30, time for bed.’ ”

“I’m literally scooting everything up,” Kotb admits. “I’m like, ‘Why are they eating lunch at 11?’ I’m like, ‘Because they’re eating dinner at 4:30.’ ”

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