Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Date Night "V"

To be perfectly honest, I'm starting to feel like our ABC date nights are never going to end.  We are both stalling with these last few letters and they seem harder than ever. Nevertheless, we soilder on.  It's hubby's turn and he chooses to go out for pizza. Veggie Pizza. 
Hubby is a meat lover, so his concession to veggie pizza for the sake of the letter "V" is no small thing  Gotta give credit where credit is due!

While waiting for our pizza to come, hubby pulls out a notebook and gives us each a piece of paper.  He instructed me to make a list of the top five accomplishments I value most.  Now, for some people this may seem easy, but I was stumped.  Hubby is quickly compiling his list and I am sitting there feeling kind of lost.  Eventually, I did come up with a few.  One being that we raised some pretty terrific kids.  It's kind of hard to think of that as an accomplishment, BUT, I guess it counts....right?  I sure hope so since that's what I spent over twenty five years of my life doing!  It's hard to believe how fast that time went and even crazier, that we are now grandparents!  So, we spent some time talking about our lists.....It's surprising the things we learn about each other when we do these sorts of things.  Amazing, in fact, the conversations that we have when we're away from home and the distractions there, especially the TV!

Because Hubby's date nights usually always include food there was only one natural conclusion to this date: Vanilla Ice Cream!
We spent the rest of our time talking about dream vacation destinations.  Hubby wanted to plan a vacation for this year but since we are already going on a family vacation this summer with all the kiddos, we decided we would delay our next trip until 2013.  One of the downfalls of being self employed is there isn't any paid vacation time.....but it gets balanced out with the perk of getting to be the employee of the month EVERY month!  In any event, we have some great ideas and lots of time to think and dream about Vacation 2013!  Vegas?  Virgin Islands?  Venice?  The possibilities are endless!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Date Night "U"

Well, well, well.  I finally figured out something fun to do for our "U" date.  After much pondering, along with an unquestionably out-of-character spring day we headed to the city of Utica for an afternoon of hiking.  Hubby is addicted enjoys a drive to anywhere.  I think he must be a castoff of yesteryear when families went for Sunday drives.  My practical self can hardly abide this pastime of his--especially with gas nearing the $4.00 a gallon mark. Beyond that, my aforementioned practical self does not understand this pastime AT ALL.  I find being stuck in the car on a beautiful day depressing.  I want to be OUTSIDE.  So, you have to understand how difficult this was for me--but, since I decided to go with this idea, I had to at least act like I was going to enjoy it!  (Hubby is sensitive like that.  Somehow he's on to me when I sit in the passenger seat, stone faced, only breaking the silence with, "Are we there yet"?)  I know, I know.  My behavior is that of a six year old pouting on 12 hour trip to nowhere.  I'm not proud of it and I don't quite understand it myself.  So, date martyr that I am, I got myself geared up mentally and spiritually (attitude-wise).  Once Hubby knew what we were doing, he looked at me like I'd lost my mind.  Which led to this conversation:
Hubby:  "Are you sure you want to do this?  I don't want to go if you're going to hate it."
Me:  "I was trying to do something unusual ~ so I thought I would try to be more understanding of your love for day trips".  (A martyr needs her due recognition.)
Hubby: "Wow, that is truly unbelievable".
So funny, that guy is.
Utica is the home of Starved Rock State Park and we've hiked there before so we knew we'd enjoy the waterfalls and the first signs of spring.  (Hiking I enjoy, it's the preceding drive.....)  Since spring came SO early this year, we actually saw wildflowers!!  This is no small thing--their website has a Spring Wildflower walk as an activity to do the first week of May and we were there the second week in March!

 I'm not sure what it is about a waterfall, but they are awesome!

We finished up the afternoon with going to into town to have lunch and driving to a few nearby antique stores.  What's a day trip without antiquing? (Something Hubby would say--not me)

 Hubby also loves to take pictures of old barns and we stopped all along the way home to indulge in that pastime.

I wish I could express how much this is all NOT me (with the exception of hiking) but it was fun to see him enjoy doing all the things he loves. And that, in turn gave me joy.
(Well, that, and the fact that I was rewarded with my car being washed inside and out, and vacuumed!  There was even carryover into the next day--My kitchen was sparkling clean when I woke up!)  Seems to me that someone (ahem...me) should have paid better attention when I read Gary Chapman's book, "The Five Love Languages".  Clearly the guy is on to something!
If only I could remember this valuable lesson for the next Sunday drive/antiquing/and take pictures of barns day trip~~which in all likelihood will be sooner than I think!

                                         “Love is a choice you make everyday.” 
                                                                            ― Gary Chapman


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Date Night "T"

Well, we are quietly winding down our Alphabet Dating.  It's hard to believe we started this nearly a year ago and yes, we've taken a few breaks but we are determined to finish strong!  How that will happen is yet to be discovered as some of the most difficult letters are ahead of us!  Hubby decided to sprinkle pelter the night with an abundance of "T"s.  It was a Thursday when he texted me to tell me "Date Night is On!"  I asked him if we were going out or staying in and when he wrote back "staying in and I'm cooking" my response was....."fine with me" and I snuggled deeper into the couch with my book.  About an hour later he sauntered in with dinner:

                                               Tossed Salad
                                               Texas Toast
                                               Turtle Pie

I had to laugh because he actually bought ciabatta rolls to go with dinner, and later said, "I didn't care what kind of bread I bought--I was calling it Texas Toast!  I also love it that for Hubby "cooking" was purchasing the above items and heating them up or taking them out of packages! However, I am always grateful for a night off from cooking and was happy to sit down to a delightful dinner not prepared by me!
Dinner wasn't all that started with "T".  Rounding out the evening was two tulips, a game of Ten Things I like about you, and a movie, The Tourist!  When Hubby gets a hold of a letter he takes it seriously!!

I know I've said it before but even though we both search and sometimes exhaust ourselves for ideas it honestly doesn't matter what we end up doing.  It's fun to be the person who plans and it's fun to the person who get planned for.  Either way it's a win-win!  Now that we're nearing the finish line, I find myself wondering what other theme we could come up with for the next round of Date Nights.  But first, we have to make it through U, V, W, X, Y and Z.  -------Aaaargh!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Date Night "S"

Well, I must admit this continues to get harder instead of easier!  "S" seemed like a pretty easy letter. After all, it's one of the most chosen letters in Wheel of Fortune, it's greatly coveted in Scrabble and Words With Friends and yet I was struggling. The obvious word and idea is not conducive to a blog post so I forged on.  (You can thank me later.)
Our little friend was celebrating her 10th birthday and she wanted to go roller-skating so I decided that Part One of our date would be that we go roller skating with her, rather than sit on the sidelines to watch.  Now keep in mind that the last time I skated was probably grade school and I was pretty awful then.  I didn't hold out much hope that the years had graced me with improvement, but honestly, I always wanted to try again.  It seems a little unfair that Hubby is a natural at all things athletic.  And that should give you a heads up of what the afternoon was going to look like!
This is what I envisioned in my "Well, I AM older but surely I'm more coordinated now" version. 

No surprise to anyone but myself--THIS was much closer to reality.  

Meanwhile back at the ranch rink Hubby was skating with all the finesse of an Olympic contender.

My secret thrill was seeing all the little kids hang onto Hubby for dear life. Before long they were all tangled up in a sea of legs which resulted in a pretty funny trip and sprawl effect.  I would have taken a picture of it, but it was considered such a risk for me to skate with our camera that I didn't get a chance to snap that one.  So here's the two of us.  I'm smiling because I'm not falling and Hubby is, well, probably just delighted that I didn't take him down one more time.
The date must not have been a total loss because on the way to our car hubby whispered this sweet nothing in my ear: "Next time we should try ice skating."
Thank the Good Lord that we've already covered the letter "I"!!
Later that night for Part Two, we went to a mall where we each had to spend $10.00 in seventeen minutes buying something for each other that started with the letter "S".  I went for the obvious--St. Louis Cardinals memorabilia and Hubby went much more literal. He was quite proud of the fact that he scored two items with two "s"'s in them.  Sea Salt and Strawberry Sweetheart truffles.  Afterwards, we shared a shake at Whiteys. Actually, I cannot tell a lie.  We wanted to share a shake because it starts with "S" but the truth is we each got our own thing, didn't share it and it didn't start with "S" but hey, there's some things you just can't mess with.  Like ice cream.

One last thing--Happy 10th Birthday to our sweet ZamZam.  Thanks for giving us the opportunity to try something new!  

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Date Night "R"

I admit it.  We'd fallen off the ABC Date Night wagon. Well, technically Hubby fell off first and then I let him off the hook way too easily.  It was early November when our "R" Date Night should have taken place and yet when the time came, Hubby said nothing and did nothing.  My feelings were a little hurt and I thought I'd wait it out and see if he'd say anything first. (gotta love those mind games)  Before I knew it, Thanksgiving was only a few days away.
But, I waited.  And waited.
Eventually, curiosity got the best of me and I decided to just ask him if he had forgotten?  I did feel a bit sad to think he'd just brushed it aside and the truth is he didn't really have a great answer.  He just kind of mumbled something unintelligible, and for good measure, he threw in a sheepish smile.  Hmmm. At this point, my mind immediately shifts to ridiculous perfectly normal questions. Doesn't he like Date Night?  Is he tired of it?  Why doesn't he like Date Night?  Why doesn't he care?  Maybe, he just doesn't want to spend time with me?  Fair questions in my book but in the world of men, it seems that you can just forget, or not have a great idea, then procrastinate and hope for the best.
I'd love to blame it all on him but honestly, I should have spoken up sooner.
One of the things I love best about this idea is that we take turns planning the dates for each other. Several women have told me that their husbands would never want to do the planning (? what's up with that ?) so--- I've been very thankful that hubby has been a great sport from the beginning.
We've each had to put aside all expectations and just go with whatever the other had planned.
We've each come up with some great ideas and yes, some semi-clinkers but at least we tried....we made the time.....and we were always blessed for the effort.
But being forgotten didn't feel so wonderful.
And if I hadn't waited so long to speak up, maybe Hubby wouldn't have thought it must not have really mattered to me.
So, in a way, "R" is for 'reality'---Someone had to make the first move.
And, even though it technically wasn't my turn--
(Ahem....this is where I get some kind of gold star, right?)
I decided that since I had an idea and we were only a few days into the New Year, it was the perfect time to start anew and change things for the better.  In order to get the proverbial ball rolling again, I swallowed my pride and suggested we could use Date Night "R" to talk about "Resolutions."
In our marriage, I'm for sure the planner and the list maker and hubby is more the spontaneous, let's "just do it" kind of guy, so he probably thought it more like I was out for REVENGE when I suggested the idea.
But, as usual, he surprised me and gave it his all.  We spent the evening talking about all kinds of things that we'd like to improve on in the year to come.  We set some individual goals as well as a few that we can do together.  I'm excited about all the plans we've made for 2012 beginning with:  Resume ABC Date Nights!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Date Night "Q"


I was super excited for "Q" night.

#1.  I actually HAD an idea for "Q"!
 #2.  I actually managed to surprise hubby!!!!  (There are not enough exclamation marks in this world to describe how I feel about this incredible feat.  Somehow, he always figures out every birthday gift, every Christmas gift, and every everything I have ever tried to keep a secret.) 
We went to Chicago for this event--I bought tickets for a matinee show so we headed up early.  When we stopped for lunch I asked him if he knew yet where we were going he said,  "I have no idea!"  So, GPS in hand, we set out for the city.  I didn't tell him what we doing until we arrived at our destination and he could read the marquee.  

The Apollo Theatre is located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood and since we were a little early, we pulled right into the parking lot next to the theater.  (A big plus since parking can be such a pain in Chicago!)  We had heard about this show from friends in our small group a couple of years ago and I've always kept in the back of my mind, knowing it was something we would both enjoy.  If you don't know the story you can read about it here.  The theater itself is described as "intimate" and only seats 440 people--so every seat is pretty amazing and we just smiled, laughed and tapped our feet throughout the entire production.  We both love the music from this era and I didn't think we would be disappointed but you just never know. I am delighted to say we 100% loved every minute. We even learned a few things that we never knew before.  For example, did you know that Carl Perkins originally wrote and recorded the song, "Blue Suede Shoes"--Not Elvis Presley?  I had never even heard of Carl Perkins until I saw this show.  The cast members were so talented and we were completely mesmerized for the entire afternoon by the incredibly talented performers of this show. Because I want you to enjoy it as much as we did, I implore you to watch this clip from the David Letterman show.
Since Beautiful Daughter #2 and Son-in-Law #2 live close by, we topped our evening off by meeting them for dinner.  We went to On the Border where we each claimed we were going to order quesadillas in honor of "Q" night, but alas, that didn't happen because were all too tempted by the multitude of other options on the menu!  Wonderful afternoon and evening!  
*Date Night Disclaimer:  I am embarrassed to admit that this date night took place the end of October and we haven't been on a date since!  The holidays and a new placement from Lydia Home have kept us pretty busy.  Now that it's a new year, we plan to get our date nights back on track.....beginning with "R"----for Resolutions.  

Monday, November 14, 2011

Date Night "P"

Another gorgeous fall day awaited us as we made plans to head to a nearby Pumpkin Patch.  Beautiful Daughter #1, Son-in-Law #1, and SGE (sweetest grandson ever) had also made plans to go on the same day and never one to resist an outing with SGE we decided to make it another family date.  Even oh-so-charming son and his girlfriend joined us for awhile.
The "date" quickly turned into a photo shoot of SGE which is always fun, even though on this particular date SGE was pretty distracted by all the people, pumpkins and WIND.

We moved along pretty quickly, (due to the excessive wind) chose our pumpkins, gourds, apples, kettle korn.....You name it, we bought it.  We bought the apples to make pie later on that afternoon.  (continuation of hubby's  "P" ideas)  All in all, the day was.....ok. Don't get me wrong.  We love being with our kids and we are absolutely in love with our grandson.....I mean, really, who can resist this sweet little face?  Certainly not us.

But "family dates" aren't really dates.  Much like when our kids were little and hogging all the attention, there's not much time for each other.  So, lesson learned.  We still had a great time and, (small wonder!!) someone even managed to snap a picture of us!  Have I mentioned how windy it was?

........and later that afternoon, we baked an apple pie together.  Every fall, I make apple pie but this was the first time ever that hubby helped!  And it was even his idea.  Perfect!
And delicious!