Last night we had to head down to Southern California for my brother's homecoming. He's been in Ghana for the past 2 years serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and we're SO EXCITED to have him home again. Obviously, this didn't leave us any alone-time for a date, but we tried to make the best of it. I downloaded the audio version of "Breaking Dawn" onto my iPhone, and we listened and discussed for pretty much the entire 7-hour drive. Jared wasn't impressed with the first 7 chapters, describing it as a long-winded epilogue to the last book. Oh well. By the end of the drive, we were tired, sore, and a bit cranky. Whether we can really count this as a date is up for debate, but at least we had some time together, right?
I'm not sure that what we did tonight really counts as a date. It was kind of a catastrophic day with Hayden. After she had used a chair to climb on top of the kitchen counters, get into the cupboard, open a child-proof bottle of Triaminic, climb back down and dump it all over the couch, I was at my wits end. So after peeling the covers off the couch, scrubbing down all the stains that weren't removable, and throwing the rest of the mess into the washing machine, I tossed the kids in the car and headed out. I figured Hayden couldn't do any more damage while she was locked in her baby seat. It was just about time for Jared to get off work, so we headed towards his office. We ended up going out to dinner at Red Robin. I was craving protein, having only eaten cereal and granola bars all day, and they make a fabulous Jamaican Jerk Chicken Sandwich. So, we had dinner out, but the kids were in attendance, so I'm not sure we can call it a date. After the kids went to bed, we decided to do something simple tonight, and ended up downloading an episode of "Fringe" on the AppleTV. We watched it while folding laundry together. So it was kind of a working date. We didn't really get to connect in any other way than laughing or gasping together in all the right spots of the show. Jared actually seemed rather grumpy as he got into bed tonight, though I wonder if it was just because he's stressed about yet another job interview tomorrow. I don't know, but as far as great dates go, this one isn't on the top of my list.
For tonight's date, Jared and I did something I haven't done probably since junior high. We played Super Mario Brothers on the Wii. It was a blast! There's an option called the "Coin Battle" where you get to play together, and whoever collects the most coins is the winner. It was a riot! Jared totally left me in the dust, but I gave him a run for his money every now and again. Most importantly, the competitive spirit made us really playful, which then took us to high school for that gratuitous make-out session! Wahoo! Two thumbs up on this wacky date!
For tonight's date, we stripped down to our skivvies, got out a bottle of body lotion, and gave each other a fifteen-minute massage. Let me tell you, it was HEAVEN! We got to talk to each other about things besides the water bill, or the state of Jason's cough. And the total cost? $0.
Wish we'd do this more often! The only things I'd add to this would be to dim the lights and turn on some soft music. I should have thought of that, but it was still splendid! It was reminiscent of the early days of our marriage, when we had the time, energy, and inclination to do nothing but wait on each other. With such hectic days and nights, we rarely take the time to do anything like this. Even on nights when I desperately need it, I'm lucky if I can get a 1-minute rubdown with IcyHot. So this, which was purely intended for pleasure and feeling close to one another, was wonderful. Who knew something so simple could be so fulfilling? So, on a scale of 1-10, this date gets a 9.8!
Wouldn't you know it? The first night of our dating frenzy, and I get sick. I was up all night with a sore throat and spent most of my day in bed (luckily Jared had the day off and could watch the kids). I was at a loss as to what to do for our first date. Jared came to my rescue and suggested a movie night. Perfect! So I actually got up and went to the store to pick up a movie and goodies. Total cost for the evening? $8.00! The most expensive thing was the popcorn! (I bought a 10-pack of microwave popcorn at $4.99. The movie, box of Red Vines, and Milk Duds were all $1 each!) This has to be one of the cheapest dates we've ever had, but it was fun. We did have a bit of an interruption from Hayden, who decided 8:00 just wouldn't do for bedtime tonight, but she didn't last too much longer. Once she was down, it was nice to just snuggle together on the couch and watch the movie. We rented "Couples Retreat," which was pretty funny, and pretty sweet at times. Not my favorite movie I've ever seen, but it served its purpose tonight. Overall, I'd give this date 3½ Stars!
This week I've read a few magazine articles about marital relationships. One of the key issues they addressed as important to a healthy marriage is continuing courtship. If you're like me, you probably just rolled your eyes and thought, "Like that's going to happen." I mean, it sounds great! Who wouldn't want to get to go out every Friday and Saturday night, the hand-holding in the park, the kisses good-night, the making out in a darkened automobile (come on, you know you've done it). But who can get away with doing that now? Especially when you've got kids! The cost of babysitters alone keeps Jared and I from going out very often. But one article I read had a solution: Having "Date Night" at home. The author devoted one night a week for six weeks to having a date night with her husband (after the kids had been tucked into bed). They did things like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle, taking a bubble bath together, and even a do-it-yourself cheese-tasting party. I thought this was an intriguing idea, and couldn't wait to try it out. Of course, I'm cramming it all into one week, which is ambitious, but doable (I think). Wish me luck!
I was just too tired last night after a very busy and productive day that I didn't get around to reporting on it until now! Well, I think I made up for the first few days of this week's focus. So much got done! The bathrooms were cleaned, cupcakes and a brownie cheesecake for our Valentine's Day celebration were made, and with the help of the rest of my family, my front yard is much closer to being weed-free! We filled our whole "green" trash bin with weeds (some bigger than Hayden) that have been growing for heaven only knows how long! I'm pretty sure the previous tenants never bothered. In addition to getting all this done, we had a glorious day together. We all really enjoyed being outside in the sunshine doing something together as a family. Even Jason helped. Every time the weed bin started getting full, he'd jump around in it so that we could fit another load in. Hayden enjoyed roaming around and playing in the dirt while Jared and I pulled weed after weed after weed. We're both getting really excited about having an actual garden this year, and now we're a little bit closer to getting our front yard in order!
So, to summarize the week: Definitely got off to a rough start. Setting your house in order is obviously not something you can accomplish in a week. I think it'll take years to really feel that there is some kind of established order, but even then, it will always be a work in progress. However, I do feel that I'm heading in the right direction. I do realize that there will be days like this one where everyone works together happily, and much is accomplished. Then there will be those days when nothing gets done and I'm tired and frustrated. So, I think the key here is to take it one step at a time, one moment at a time. Relish each achievement, but don't dwell on each disappointment. There is always tomorrow.
I'm a stay-at-home mother of 2, a lover of all things creative, and an admitted perfectionist. I enjoy spending time with my family, hanging out with my girlfriends, and most things domestic (I hate the cleaning up part).