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!


Monday, November 7, 2011

Date Night "O"

There are times when I question the wisdom of our great idea of Date Nights based on the alphabet.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, it's harder than I thought!
For "O" all I could up with was "Outdoors."
That was okay I guess.
We had  been working outdoors all weekend~~doing yard work, cleaning out the garage....Not exactly Date Night material (although my love language is acts of service)
But, since it was my turn to plan it wasn't about me.  Rats.
Lawn mowed, weeds pulled, junk cleared out of the garage and still all I had was "outdoors." I kept hoping for divine intervention in the form of an idea of something outrageously wonderful to do.  Nothing.
But-as they say, sometimes the simplest things are the best.
We ended up just going for a walk in the park.
Sat on a park bench for awhile.
You know what?  It was pretty wonderful.
Autumn was just beginning to show her colors, the sun was bright and the sky was that shade of blue that you only see in the fall.  We sat there on that bench together for a long time, satisfied with our weekend tasks completed and enjoyed the beauty of God's creation.
Just sat there and soaked it up.
Outrageously Wonderful indeed.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Date Night "N"

Well.......who would've thought "N" would end up being such a difficult letter?  Hubby struggled.  And struggled.  Claims he even resorted to a google search. The funny thing about that is all he came up with there was "necking" and "nudist beach."  Now, we're not against either of those things but wouldn't you think that there would've been something a little more "G" rated?  Hubby jokingly threatened early in the week that we would be doing "nothing" as he continued to struggle.  (All I could think of was how relieved I am that I already have "Q" planned!)
In the end, befuddled and frustrated, he threw in the towel--and we headed out the door for dinner at Noodles.
Not exactly original but hey, it's a night out and who am I to complain?  At this time we still had our two little girls from Lydia Home and any break was fine by me.  The girls were pretty sweet most of the time but prone to sudden meltdowns amidst the occasional tantrum and foot stomping.  So, when hubby let me know he felt like he let me down by not coming up with something more exciting I assured him that anything would be wonderful and doggone it--I meant it. The girls were scheduled to have an overnight visit with their mom, so after dinner we decided at the last minute to go all out and make it a "Night at the movies."

  The movie was wonderful.....I love to get lost in a good story and I love love love going to a movie as opposed to say.....Redbox.  I'm no movie critic but this movie was soooooooo good and the better the movie is the more delighted I am that I got to see it in a theater instead of my living room.  Something about the experience of the big screen, no distractions and someone else popping the popcorn just makes me happy!

Having little ones in our home reminded me of how much I wished we would have had regular date nights when our children were young.  Kids really do have a way of hogging all the attention (I mean that in the nicest way) and it is SO true that after decades of that, plus not much attention on your spouse equals a ho-hum marriage.  At least in our case. So, hubby--you may have thought you fell short this date night but for me---It was nice--even nifty--and with nary a complaint from me!  

Monday, October 10, 2011

Date Night "M"

"M" brings us to halfway mark.  Thinking back, we started off slow but determined and along the way we've had some delays, a few clunkers, and some great memories.  It's hard not to stop and reflect here---in the center of the alphabet.   Where to begin? So many lessons learned already.

"M" was my night to plan and I went with "Memory Lane."  We started off our evening a little unsettled as we had two new little ones placed with us through Lydia Home just a few days prior to this date night.  We were given a two hour window for our date by our babysitter for the evening.  Two hours seems like enough in theory, but by the time you orchestrate drop off and pick-up complete with tantrums and tears, it's really more like an hour and a half, maybe less.  So, short and sweet is how we played it.  Still summer, air conditioning in full throttle, we set off to have dinner at the restaurant where we had our first date.  Ironically, it's the same building but now has a different name, appropriately starting with the letter "M"!
In my humble opinion, not nearly as wonderful as the restaurant that was there thirty-some years ago, especially on this night when their air conditioning was on the fritz, our salads were lukewarm and our waitress was full of sarcasm.  Being the date night troopers that we are, we rose above all of that and headed to a park up the hill for part two.  I had packed up our old photo albums and we carried them to a picnic table in the shade.

It was still HOT, but it also was a beautiful summer night and we enjoyed looking through our old pictures even if our most frequent comment was, "Look how skinny we were!" Although I had brought several photo albums, our attention pretty much zoomed in on our wedding pictures as we each shared memories of that day.
We both got lost in indescribable feelings and thoughts as we scrutinized those photos trying to recapture that special day and absorbing the undeniable fact that the years have flown, just absolutely flown by.

As for lessons learned at the halfway mark?  Well, for one, marriage takes work, sometimes really hard work.  I don't know why that continues to be a surprise to me. We still fight. We still laugh. And we still cry. But, surrendering our marriage to God is one of the best decisions we've ever made.  God has honored that decision over and over, in spite of the days when we are our worst enemies, when we slip and struggle, and especially in spite of our selfish selves.  Every day we're getting a little better at seeing this new thing He's doing in us and in our marriage--and that is truly something to behold!  (Isaiah 43:18-19)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Date Night "L"

Back into the swing of things.....sorta.  After a month with twins in our home, it took us a few weeks to get Date Night going again.  Trust me when I say the recuperation time was necessary! At long last.  If we don't pick up the pace we're never going to finish the alphabet and after all, I've got letters like "Q" and "Z" to look forward to planning! figure out what on earth I'm doing.  We've struggled with easy letters so gee, I can hardly wait!  (insert sarcasm here)
It's always nice when it's hubby's turn to plan and all I have to do is show up.  One thing I can count on is that when it's his turn we'll for sure be going out for dinner.  Since I cook almost every night, this works for me!  He's pretty sweet about choosing a restaurant he thinks I'll like or one that we've never been to before.  This night, in honor of the letter "L" he chose Lunardi's, an Italian restaurant near us.  My dinner was DEE-licious--I had pasta marsala---our waitress recommended it and it was pretty yummy!  Hubby stuck with the "L" theme and ordered lasagna.....gotta love a rule follower!

That has to be an optical illusion.           >>>>
No way is my plate that much bigger than his!

Afterwards, we headed to Lindsay Park and had  fun just hanging out and watching the world go by. Hubby brought along some conversation would think after nearly thirty-one years of marriage we wouldn't need them.....but sometimes it surprises me when we just take the time to talk....or should I say Listen?
Proof that a great date night doesn't have to cost much or take an enormous amount of planning.  On the way home, we impulsively decided to stop for lemon meringue pie which was a double bonus for me.  I can't eat lemon meringue pie without remembering my mom (it's a dessert we both loved) and I'm pretty sure calories don't count on when the treat lines up with the letter for the night!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Date Night "K"

"K" is for Krazy.  Yep.  That's what we are.  Even our house was nicknamed "Krazytown."
I know that fostering twins is not a date, but since everything in our life including Date Nights came to a screeching halt while we had those sweet little baby girls, we decided our "K" Date Night was really "K" Krazy Kid Month.  For sure it met one of the requirements of Date Night as in we constantly strived to put the other first (even when we were exhausted.)  I say when we were exhausted, not if, because from the moment those babies entered our home it seemed they never stopped moving, and therefore, neither did we!
Everyone loves babies, and everyone loves twins.  Yes, they are adorable.  But, may I state the obvious?  There are TWO of them!  Two that needed to be fed breakfast, lunch dinner, snacks... Two that needed to be held, kissed, and sometimes rocked before each nap and bedtime. Two that needed reassurance during the night.  Two whose feet and hands moved constantly. Two to bathe and in this case twice the screams when we washed their hair! Twice the diaper changes.  And my personal favorite--Two to wrestle into and out of car seats.  I know they are necessary but seriously, what is WITH all those buckles and straps?  And could someone pleeaaaaasssssseeee invent a car seat that can be faced forward so that when babies and toddlers need to be attended to it does not require the skill of an Olympic gymnast?

Having said that, we honestly enjoyed our time with the girls.  It was truly a blessing to be a part of their lives and to see the outpouring of support from our family and friends was amazing.  Within two days of bringing the twins home, Beautiful Daughter #1 and friends had located and delivered to us:
2 pack-n-plays, 2 high chairs, 2 baby gates, 1 double stroller, toys, clothing, blankets, bibs....all accompanied by genuine interest, concern, and prayers!

It took us awhile to get settled but eventually things calmed down (a little) and we did have respite care on three of the four weekends they were with us.  We took advantage of that time by doing a quick clean sweep of the house, running to the grocery store to reload, and yes, napping!  And best of all....relishing in knowing we would be getting an uninterrupted night's sleep.  The month sped by in a blur. Typically we awoke to soaking wet diapers, moved quickly on to breakfast, playtime, looking at books, lunch, nap, walks, looking at books, swim outings, trips to the park, looking at books, dinner, bottles, baths, and....bedtime!  When hubby came home from work, he spent hours playing with the girls and reading to them.
Did I mention how much these girls loved books?  Anyone who knows me knows how much I love to read.  Ever since I was a child one of my favorite places to go was to the library!  Take me to a bookstore and I'm in heaven....but I admit that I actually found myself stuffing books under our couch just to get a short reprieve!
It's been a long time since we've parented small children and wowser, did our bodies ever remind us of that!  Imagine coming downstairs with one baby, sprinting upstairs to get the other, only to find the first has climbed halfway back up and then multiply that fun little exercise x oh, 20-100 per day.  This particular exercise lessened considerably after acquiring the aforementioned baby gates.  Here's another fun one:  "Oh, I'll just carry them both at once."  Twenty one pounds perched on each hip?  That's forty-two pounds of extra weight to balance.  Ummm...that's a lot. Needless to say, that idea was used only in times of desperation.
And yes. I know. We're old.
But in my defense, in less than two hours they wore out our little 9 year old friend who came to help for a day.  In addition, my 11 and 14 year old nieces were in town visiting and they also wilted after one afternoon. I will forever be in awe of any parent of multiples.

Evidently we are Krazy, because, yes, we'd do it again.  Even willingly give up another Date Night.  Why?

We were so blessed.  Twice the smiles.  Twice the hugs.  Twice the snuggles.  On the topic of blessings it is not lost on me that for a long time my heart ached with the truth that my own children were all grown up, and because of Date Nights, especially Date Night "I," God made a way for both of us to once again enjoy the marvelous experience of loving and being loved by babies.  These girls will always have a place in our heart.
    Totally worth it.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Date Night "J"

On Procrastination:  "Only Robinson Crusoe had everything done by Friday." ~Author Unknown  

So..........we went on our "J" date way back in June, but shortly after that we accepted our first request from Lydia Home to care for fourteen month old twins! Looking back, I see it may have been wiser for me to have been caught up on blogging but how was I to know my life was about to be turned upside down?  I can procrastinate fine all by myself but aided by caring for the constant needs of two toddlers things went downhill in that area quickly!   I have only recently regained control of bills, laundry, cleaning etc....  There.  Explanation given. Procrastination over.  And now that I'm two weeks post-twins, I'm actually starting to get a little bored!

This Date Night was a little unconventional.  It was more of a "family" date and it wasn't at "night" but when Beautiful Daughter #2 invited us to meet up with her, Beautiful Daughter #1, sons-in-law and the Sweetest Grandson Ever on Father's day, we quickly agreed it would be fun to go on a little jaunt. ( It didn't hurt that it also bailed out hubby who couldn't come up with a "J" idea to save his soul.)  And anyway, who could resist a day with hubby, daughters, sons-in-law, and the SGE? Hence, Date Night "J" turned into Date Day "Jaunt."  

About two hours from us is a place called Sandwich, Illinois where they have an enormous flea market.  We had been there before--years ago--and it was truly a sight to behold.  
Tons of quality exhibitors and food vendors were spread out all over the Sandwich Fairgrounds and we easily spent the whole day there. There was so much to see it was almost overwhelming.  When we arrived this June, the Market was considerably smaller and not much was offered in the way of food. We were told that the economy had drastically effected the participation of vendors. Between this and the lack of food vendors we were a bit underwhelmed but we still enjoyed our time there. But, really, what's an outdoor flea market without some yummy treat like onion rings? funnel cake?  I know it's not the State Fair but I can get a pretzel or nachos at my local community pool!  Well, since it was HOT-and by hot I mean sweltering--even in the shade, it ended up being just dandy that we were only there for a little while.  When we ran out of things to look at there, we headed into town and found a couple of air-conditioned antique malls to meander around in. 

Seeing as it was a combination Date Night with Family, a Father's Day celebration and son-in-law #1's birthday, we ended our day having dinner together. We opened some presents and shared some desert in honor of the day.  All in all, it was a great date made all the more special because we got to spend it with these wonderful people!
A little jaunt = a LOT of joy!
BD#2 and Son-in-Law #2

BD#1 and Son-in-Law #1 with Sweetest-Grandson-Ever
Hubby and Me/Father's Day 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

ABC Date Nights "I"

So....I have mentioned that sometimes I cheat when thinking of ideas but when I think about it, it's not like we ever set a rule that stated our ideas must be completely our own.  So technically, I guess I don't really cheat.  Hitherto and henceforth, I'll call any idea(s) that I don't come up with all by myself "borrowed" or "adapted" instead of "cheating." In any event, the original idea for our "I" date night isn't mine!  
Sometimes, when I do have an idea, it just doesn't sound that fun at the time. For example, for the letter "I" I had considered going ice skating.  We actually have an indoor ice skating rink within minutes of us, but for some reason I just didn't wanna!  Which is weird, because I have always wanted to learn how to ice skate. Correction.  I've always wanted to learn how to ice skate without falling every 2.3 seconds.  I even own ice skates that were given to me for Christmas when I was a teenager!  My memories of that winter and trying to ice skate are pretty fuzzy but they pretty much all involve falling.  Over and over. Meanwhile, my siblings, who also received ice skates that Christmas, merrily skated all around me.  I have eleven siblings so that means at a minimum, at least four or five of them were already mastering a figure eight while I was still picking myself up from my one millionth fall.  To this day, I wonder why they all found it so easy and I was the token awkward one!?  In addition, hubby is a remarkably good teacher/coach in anything sports related so, in a way, it's odd to me that I didn't choose ice skating. Hmmm.  
Instead, I went looking to "borrow" an idea.  I frequently visit this website, The Romantic Vineyard, and came across a post for an I.Heart.List.  The basic idea of the I.Heart.List is to create a list of things we would love to do someday (much like a bucket list).  I was intrigued!  Ironically, the author of this post gives credit for the idea to another great date night website, Project 52: Date Nights. (guess I'm not the only one who borrows ideas!) Now that I have given proper acknowledgement to all, on with our "I" Date Night.   
I have always thought it would be fun to make homemade ice cream so it was at the top of my list for the night.  Beautiful Daughter #2 just happens to have a pretty fancy ice cream machine and I borrowed it from her.  Basically, you just mix the ingredients together and turn the machine on for twenty minutes!  After that, you freeze it for two hours and abracadabra--Ice Cream!  The actual process of making the ice cream was SO simple that I almost felt a little cheated out of the "homemade" part!  
While the ice cream was churning, we moved on to making Italian Four Cheese Margherita Pizza.  It was super easy and super delicious!  
After dinner, we went for a walk and when we returned, we started on our I.Heart.Lists. I found some prompts (by googling, of course) and we both proceeded to go through a list of questions.  We answered each question for ourselves and also what we thought the other person's answer would be.  For instance, one of the questions was "What have you always wanted to do but not done yet?"  For me, one of my answers was learn how to ice skate!  For hubby, it was oil painting....This was one of the easier questions.  Needless to say, some of the questions are pretty thought provoking and revealed some surprises about us!  I knew my hubby would enjoy antiquing across America but when one of the questions asked "what event would you want to witness in person?" I would have never guessed his answer!  Bear with me as I explain. We have welcomed into our family a single father and his daughter who have resettled here after years of living in a refugee camp in Kenya.  We enjoy spending time with them and helping them with a myriad of things that they wrestle with as they continue to adapt to life in America.  Eighteen years after our friend fled from his country, he discovered that his mother, brother and sister were okay and still living in Ethiopia.

I.Heart.List 2011
My unbelievably kind and caring hubby, in answer to the above question, wrote, "to see my friend reunite with his family."  Our lists revealed many things about each other but none were as revealing as the size of my hubby's heart! Granted some of the things we wrote were silly, and some were just big dreams but it really opened our eyes to so many possibilities and helped us to focus on how or if we were going to make any of those dreams come true! One of things that I included on my list was that I have always wanted was for us to consider becoming foster parents. A couple of months ago we had picked up an information packet at our church about becoming a Safe Family for Lydia Home.  After completing our I.Heart.Lists, we finally filled out our application form, and have now finished our home study and interview.  A few more steps and we will be approved! Another amazing blessing from God as we continue to look to Him for the next step in our marriage!

Oh, and I didn't forget the ice cream.  For a bonus we added some Reese's and Snickers to make it even better.  You can never go wrong with a little extra chocolate!  A great finish to a pretty wonderful night.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

ABC Date Nights "H"

How lovely it is to be the one planned for.  As much as I enjoy planning our dates I always look forward to the nights when hubby does the planning!  I have to admit that often I cheat a little a whole bunch and do some online hunting for date ideas.  Hubby usually just wings it.
When I first came into our dining room, Hubby was scurrying about and asked me if I wouldn't mind going back outside and doing yard work for a little while longer!  Hmmm.
When I was finally summoned, this is what I found:  A group of pictures on my dining room table all arranged with the picture side down.  I was instructed that this was the "Hand" match game and my instructions were to match each picture of someone in our family with a picture of their hand.  I only got mixed up once when I incorrectly matched the son-in-laws hands!

Pictures of all those I love and their "hands"

With that game quickly over, I was now advised that there was something new in the house and I had to "hunt" for it.  Wonder of all wonders, this actually took a bit longer.  Evidently, finding things is not my specialty!  (see "G" date night for further explanation!)  I think I went throughout the house at least three six or seven times trying to find the object.  I was close to resorting to an old-fashioned game of hot and cold when finally I looked up and found that hubby had added a new pitcher to a group of dishes I have above my cupboards.

It's the pitcher on the right!
One thing I can pretty much count on is that when it's hubby's turn to prepare we will be going out to eat!  (No complaint here!)  We went to Huckleberry's Pizza where as usual, we had yummy, cornbread crust pizza!  But, Date Night wasn't over yet....Apparently, my husband does cheat a little and had googled a recipe for cookies that start with "H."  He previously bought all the ingredients, so we proceeded to make dessert---"Haystack Cookies" together.  There are so many versions of this recipe and this is the one he chose:

They were pretty good and EASY!  We are still so surprised how fast Date Nights speed by.  (Kind of like life!)  It was almost 10:00 before we could eat these and by that time we were fading fast!  What can I say?  We're getting old!  We are also still amazed by how much this intentional planning of time together has brought us closer together.  It really doesn't matter what we do, it's just enjoyable to be doing something different whether you're the one planning or being planned for!  God is indeed doing a "new thing" in our marriage and for that we are both truly grateful.  One thing I can be certain of is that God is not surprised at all.  Turns out that being obedient to Him is a direct path to being blessed!

Zechariah 4:6 says, “You will not succeed by your own strength or power but by My Spirit, says the Lord.”  

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

ABC Date Nights "G"

Since our last two Date Nights were more like "non-dates" and the reasons justifying why they basically failed, I was excited that we finally were getting back to normal!  And by normal, I mean:
1.  We actually had nice weather.  (no small feat, as the every date night up until "G" was cold and rainy!)
2.  We were both healthy.
3.  We have appliances. (lol--It does make life less stressful to have these handy items!)
4.  We had an easier letter with options aplenty to choose from!

It was also fun because we tried something new which was the premise to begin with but weather, sickness, stress and difficult letters intervened! Somewhere in my foggy brain, I remembered someone talking about "geocaching" and I always thought it sounded interesting.  I did a little research, polled my friends on facebook and decided to go with it.  Not knowing much about it, naturally I googled it and found an entire website dedicated to how to get started.
GEOCACHING is a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using GPS-enabled devices and then share their experiences online..
The first thing we did was register.  That way we would have a screen name which enabled us to log in and find geocaches near us.  After that, we just typed in our zip code and that brought up pages (!) of sites near us to search. There are codes for how easy/difficult, and how small/large the "cache" is.  It doesn't tell you what the cache looks like (it could be in almost any kind of a container, from the size of a film canister to a bucket!)  The site suggested to start with "easy." Since we get lost everywhere we go, we decided to follow their advice and pursue three "easy" caches.  We borrowed a friend's GPS and entered the coordinates of the sites.  Let the treasure hunt begin!  Since it was such a beautiful night, we walked to the first one. The website suggests once you get within twenty feet of the coordinates to turn the GPS off and just start looking around.
So we did.
We looked.
And looked.
For about 20-30 minutes.
Near a very busy intersection where I'm certain every person who drove by us was looking at us quizzically and wondering,
"What on earth are those crazy people doing?"  
After checking and rechecking oh, about a hundred times, we decided either we were either blind or the cache had been removed.  The website log said eighty-nine people had found it---nine had not.  Guess who rounded that total up to ten?

After some deliberation we decided to move on to our second location.  I mean, how many times can you look in the same place for something you can't find???
The coordinates for the second site took us to an empty, grassy area. Since the directions didn't tell us we had to dig for our treasure we were again perplexed.  Still, we looked far and wide, with no luck. The website log said one hundred and sixty-nine people had found it--six did not! At this point we were starting to think either our friend's GPS was faulty<(probably NOT true) or we were the most directionally challenged people EVER! <(probably true)  Our new adventure was starting to get a bit annoying. You don't want to be frustrated on a Date Night but this was starting to resemble many of our road trips where we ended up lost and yes, frustrated!  "The goal is to spend time together" we repeated to each other lovingly with barely disguised exasperation. Ultimately we regained our composure.  This was Date Night! Onward and Forward!

We approached our third and final destination with fierce determination but low expectations.  This time the coordinates pretty much took us exactly to the spot. And let me just add that no one was more surprised than us!  (note the look of exhilaration on my face!)


Eureka!  Did I mention before that the treasure is usually quite small?---It's more about the hunt---and inside each cache there is a log book for you to log your name and the date you found it.  We were so happy to have actually FOUND the cache that it didn't matter what was in it---even if it was only a cottage cheese container filled with assorted odd items!  The important thing was that we FOUND it!  
I can't say that we are hooked on geocaching although I have to admit before going, I thought it might become a fun hobby.  I think we would have to try it a few more times before we decide if it will become our new favorite pastime.....Still, it was fun to try something different and we were extra thankful for the beautiful night spent outdoors and away from our couch!
(We later went back and found the first cache.  It was pretty cleverly hidden and took us at least another twenty minutes.  We haven't tried yet to find the second one again, but for now, our wounded pride has been partially reinstated!)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

ABC Date Nights "F"

I thought winter had been long. And then came Spring.  Our Cold Gray Wet Rainy Spring gave a whole new meaning to tedious.  The lack of sunshine and the abundance of rain had taken it's toll on both of us.  I'm not a big fan of winter  I pretty much hate winter with every cold arthritic bone in my body (ask anyone who knows me about the incessant whining) but the last few years I've made a concentrated effort to suck it up.  So, when Spring rolls around I'm ready for winter to be OVER as in Enough Already.  By this time we had endured March which if you're asking me felt an awful lot like January and February.  April wasn't much better.  Maybe worse.  This particular Date Night took place in mid-April during which we'd had a record-setting total rainfall for April.  We found it a bit challenging to to come up with any new ideas that took place inside. There were SO many things we could have done if only we lived anywhere but in the Land-of-Winter-is-Never-Going-to-End.

For example, we could have gone Fishing--
Not even close to being one of my
favorite things to do, but doesn't this
look romantic? However, unless I
wanted to go rain and ice fishing I'm thinking
this was not going to happen and
somehow I don't imagine this beautiful
picture when I think of ice fishing.
More like shivering, which I've done
enough of, thank you.  Pass.

Ideas flowed but not as quickly as the clouds multiplied.  On top of that, my hubby was sick with what started out to be a cold, evolved into a sinus infection and for the grand finale---pink eye!  He gets sick about once every three years so I guess he was due.  However, he insisted on persisting.  He claims to have had ideas but he pretty much came up empty.  He had my complete sympathy. It's difficult to be creative when it's been gray for days on end and your nose is alternately stuffy and runny!

Just for kicks, here's a few of the other ideas that we could have used.  Sigh. The Land-of-Winter-is-Never-Going-to-End is getting quite boring.

How about a festival?  It didn't have to be anything fancy.  Like this Tulip Festival, three hours away....and doesn't take place until May.

Or, it could be in flying to DC for the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Or.....this looks like fun
ahem....I threw this one in to see if anyone was still paying attention!


Ferris Wheel Ride?

However, we have tweaked the rules a bit for future Date Nights. 
Date Night is allowed to be postponed to a nicer day (assuming there IS one in the forecast.) 

If necessary, Date Night is allowed take place in a tropical location.  
Whatever it takes.

(Ironically, as I post this, we are enjoying a record breaking temperature of 93! in MAY?!)  Wow, it is so true--"If you don't like the weather here, just wait about 5 minutes. It'll change."---Mark Twain

Sunday, May 1, 2011

ABC Date Nights/"E"

Well, you would think we would be getting the hang of this by now.  I knew that "E" might be a bit difficult. I intermittently threw myself into it racking my brain for something exciting and different.  I was sure I would come up with something.  In my defense, we were in the middle of a simple ridiculously expensive and unbelievably "if anything can go wrong it will" kitchen remodeling project.  Oh-so-charming-son had offered to build us a window seat and that project wasn't so bad---just messy---and like all projects, took longer than we thought it would.  It was the decision to buy new appliances that went almost demonically awry from the beginning.  I had been struggling with buying new ones for two years.  My old appliances (and by old I mean eighteen years+ old) were ugly.  They worked just fine.  But they were ugly!  And, inspired by the idea of having a new-over-the-range microwave in order to free up some much needed counter space, I finally gave in and decided to buy new. Yes, I still have some unresolved guilt.  
Choosing the appliances was a breeze compared to what followed.  Forty-eight hours after the decision, (paid for and delivery set up) our salesman called to inform us the refrigerator we chose was discontinued.  Sigh.  Small setback.  We just had to choose a different model.  
A few days later, our new fridge, stove and microwave were delivered.  The delivery guys were from the start a bit disinterested and somewhat rude.  The stove arrived dented. Our woodwork was scratched. The fridge also arrived scratched and it was TOO big! Apparently, a "standard" fridge in America is now approximately the size of a small vacation cottage in Vermont.  Appliances sent back to store.  New fridge has to be "counter-depth."  Oh, the terms I am learning!  Our salesman informs us over the phone that counter-depth refrigerators cost between $500-$1000 MORE than "standard."  Aforementioned guilt revs up. add to the mayhem, I had already posted and SOLD my old appliances on Craigslist.  Had I not, I would have stopped the madness that moment and loved my ugly, old appliances until the day they died.  However, I did not have that option anymore. In fact, I didn't even have a stove anymore.  Craigslist guy had already picked it up.  Somehow, I DID have the presence of mind to ask him to wait on picking up the fridge until we had our new one. 
Third trip back to Appliance Store.  Choose third refrigerator.  Price quoted=$300 more than original fridge.  Not too bad we decide, and think we have narrowly escaped financial disaster.  The day of my hopefully new, undented, unscratched appliances delivery arrives and I see that my invoice is highlighted, "customer owes difference of $1400!"  WHAT????  Call the appliance store.  "Must have been some kind of mix-up, but sorry, that's the price."  What else can possibly go wrong? I simply cannot justify spending this much money on a fridge.  Appliances sent back. Again.  
Enter oh-so-charming-son to the rescue who works at Best Buy. (I didn't want to go there in the first place b/c of the whole "big box" label and wanted to give a smaller business our order, buy American, etc...)  Choosing a new refrigerator, stove and microwave was no problem.  But, the counter-depth fridge is on back order because the "Made in America" Fridge I wanted is waiting for the parts to come from JAPAN so it can be assembled here.  
At this juncture I thought, well at least nothing can go wrong with the window seat since my sweet husband was completing that project.  Wrong. The fabric we chose? Discontinued!
So date night, which in hindsight, probably should have been postponed, sadly consisted of enchiladas and after that, errands.  

 We were exhausted. adjective
depleted in strength, energy, or freshness <the exhausted homeowners grew weary of choosing new refrigerators and just collapsed>

 In the end, we're happy we didn't blow it off and give into frustration.  It gave us the chance to slow down and enjoy an evening out of the house even if we had to spend some of that time stragetizing how (if ever) we were going to complete our kitchen project.  By the time we were done with our errands, we had a more positive outlook on things. After all, it is only a small kitchen remodel.  And what is so sweet is how my kids have gotten into the the spirit of Date Nights.  Later that night we were talking and laughing about our appliance nightmare before going to sleep.  The ever-so-charming-son from the next bedroom over texted me this:
Eliminate your voices over there so I can 
Experience a good
Evening of 
Enticing sleep.
HA!  It's good to have a sense of humor about these things.  In the end, my new window seat looks beautiful and I LOVE my new stove, microwave and extra counter space!  Someday the fridge will come, right?  Blessings Abound.     

I will add that three days later I still felt so guilty about my lack of planning that I surprised my hubby at work with an Elephant Trunks milkshake from Whiteys.  (That pesky guilt emotion really needs to be addressed!)