It was the summer of 2003. My husband and I were sitting outside at a restaurant enjoying the warmth of the evening and sipping on our glasses of wine. Our newborn son slept soundly in his carrier at our feet and we smiled smugly at each other across the table as if to say, “Why do people always make it sound like life has to stop when you have kids? Here we are having a nice dinner out as though nothing has changed at all! The baby will be asleep for at least 2 hours and if he does fuss it’s nothing a bottle won’t fix. We’ll even be able to stay and have dessert. This is so easy!”
(You know what’s coming don’t you?)
Fast forward a few months and we quickly realized that trying to bring an 8 month old on a romantic dinner out was about the same as trying to herd cats.
Noisy…sweaty…frustrating and frankly, pointless.
From that point on, date nights at home became a staple in our marriage. And the thing is, we love them!
Oh sure, it’s fun to get dressed up and go out but we freely admit to being homebodies. Our home is our sanctuary. A cocoon. It’s a refuge for us and our kids from the busyness of life and the hectic pace that is constantly tugging at us. Now, normally date night means wearing our favorite sweats, feeding the kids and putting them to bed and then enjoying a meal (sometimes take-out and sometimes a dish we know the kids would hate and complain about if we made them eat it but that we really love) in the family room while watching a movie.
But, for Valentine’s Day…well, maybe we could just fanc-i-fy our date night at home…just a little. Maybe I could set the dining room table with china and crystal. I could create a centerpiece using fresh flowers and engrave our initials into a wood round. Because I’ve always wanted to have my initials carved into a tree. But it always felt kind of naughty…the whole tree desecration thing. Although when we were dating if Robb had wanted to carve our initials into a tree I probably wouldn’t have complained because I was suffering from that whole “stars in my eyes” thing. 😉
And if we were celebrating a Valentine’s date at home, I would have to include a trip down memory lane by placing photos into mason jars with battery operated candles. Like the one of my beloved proposing to me on that November day in 1997.
And this one taken on the eve of our wedding.
I think that a ‘special occasion’ date night at home calls for a little activity…no…not THAT kind of activity…where are your minds people? That’s later! 😉 But, how about a fun and sweet gift that also makes a great conversation starter?
How to Make a Chalkboard Word Search Puzzle
Supplies: Chalkboard, Sticker Letters, Chalk, Ruler
Step 1: Season your chalkboard by covering it in chalk and then wiping clean.
Step 2: Create your word search puzzle at an online site like Discovery Education
Step 3: My puzzle was 6 rows across by 6 rows down. So, I found the center and used this awesome green plastic Christmas ruler to mark in chalk where each letter would go, spacing them out an inch apart.
Step 4: Place stickers over chalk markings according to the puzzle you created online.
Step 5: Attach a little tag to the frame with the words to be found in the puzzle.
Finding baby-sitters was hard (and expensive) and our date nights at home have saved us, especially in the years with two very little ones when going out seemed like such a struggle.
On those nights, our home transformed from a zany place with kids running around, wrestling and generally wreaking havoc, to a place of respite. We would get them in bed, turn on some music, open a bottle of wine and (when we weren’t getting take out) Robb would sit at the kitchen island and talk with me while I cooked our dinner (or vice versa if he was cooking that night!). We would catch up on our days, talk about the kids and just reconnect.
Now that the kids are getting older and the bed-times are getting later, our date nights at home are slowly becoming more challenging. Oh sure we can still watch a movie after they’ve gone to bed and sure it’s easier to leave them with a baby-sitter and go out on the town. But those evenings at home are among some of my most cherished memories in these early years of parenting.
Perhaps now we’ll just have to start having date ‘lunches’ at home, right? 😉
I’m so thrilled to be joining a fantastic group of bloggers this week for the Hearts at Home Tour and I hope you will pay them all a visit for some wonderful inspiration from their hearts and their homes!
Thanks so much for joining me today At the Picket Fence,