Archive for February, 2014

Date Night!

Well, seeing that it’s Valentine’s Day, this felt like the best time to share a new part of our life: DATE NIGHT. Which will not be happening tonight, because my handsome hubby has a hockey game. Honestly, it doesn’t bother me: our church was doing something cool, so we would have gone to that, but typically we don’t like doing stuff just ‘cuz commercials and society tell us to. And now that we have DATE NIGHT, I feel loved all week long.

So, how do we do this? How much does it cost? Well, a babysitter for four kids can run you pretty high. So we rarely do go out, although we LOVE our babysitter, and talk of her often. Literally. One son has already pledged marriage. But no, we don’t leave the house, and sometimes the kids are a big part of it. We are also religious in the fact that no matter what, Thursday is date night. It has changed once, with a lot of notice. Otherwise, rain or shine, sickness or health, DATE NIGHT is Thursday night. This has made it kinda sticky for me because Thursday is also swimming lessons, but with enough planning and fast thinking, it’s worked out okay. 

Our inspiration for this night come from our friends who as of yet, do not have kids. They are able to do go out and like, LEAVE, but the premise is still the same: we need a little fun to shake things up and show each other we care. We’ve been together for 10 years, and been through lots of ups and downs, but the plateau, or the unchanging days of children, schedules and laundry can get to a marriage. So far, we have added other kids to shake things up, but we needed to look at other ways, too. I didn’t want to wait until we didn’t care enough, or felt completely stagnant. Hence, DATE NIGHT. Every week we take turns picking the evening. It’s always fun guessing what he’s going to do.

Here are some of our favourites, along with a way to adapt for bad days.

DATE NIGHT #1: Super formal dinner (my pick)

Activity: This one was fun. We ate by candlelight (with the kids fighting over who would eventually blow out the candles.) Kids in their best clothes, good dishes, and romantic music on Youtube which also came with a fireplace screen. As a bonus, the children worked on their manners. Note to self: always use linen tablecloths. The Pretty One ate the paper one I gave her after her cloth one got dirty. After the kids went to bed, we played games and listened to songs that we know. From ten years ago. Don’t judge.

What I wore: Make up (including lipstick!), fanciest dress, perfume

BAD DAY ADAPTATION: Music at dinner.

What to wear: Lipstick, clothes that are not “activewear.”

DATE NIGHT #2: Games night (his pick)

He came home with a card, my favourite candies and a bottle of wine. We played Scrabble. We laughed and tried so hard to think of good words, but I don’t think we did that well as compared to people who don’t have fuzzy brains from lack of sleep. So much fun.

What I wore: super flattering outfit, make up and I did my hair!

BAD DAY ADAPTATION: Uno and a bag of chips

What to wear: fruity lip gloss and jeans

DATE NIGHT #3: Movie Night (his pick)

He was super sick, and like the fascist wife I am, I did not volunteer to take his turn. However, I did remind him that we had PVR’d a movie on TV. So we snuggled on the couch and he did homemade popcorn.

What I wore: Newest clothes, with no spaghetti marks, spit up or flour.

BAD DAY ADAPTATION: Honestly, this was our worst day. But it was so nice to snuggle on the couch together, it didn’t even feel like it.

What to wear: Pajama party!

A couple other easy ones we’ve done: I don’t like sports. As a matter of fact, I kinda detest them. So for one evening, I PVR’d his hockey game that started early, bought a cheap Montreal Canadiens shirt from a facebook group for $5, and went for the “sporty girl” look. He loved it, and we had fun. You don’t have to actually spend any money: I was out and about anyways, and I found some change in the car. I mostly just wanted to see his face.

Last night was his turn, and he made up this awesome game of blackjack. There were a lot of rules, which made it super exciting. We played all night. You know, till 9:00. He also came home with dinner, because I have a super infected tooth and it’s been kinda rough this week. He called to inform me that I wouldn’t be making dinner, and that we were using paper plates. May not have been good for our carbon footprint, but it was great for my heart. I love the idea of him thinking about it when he’s working: that means so much to me. He loves the fact that he comes home and I’m all decked out. And I smell good. The kids also love seeing me rush around and change outfits five times. (That one!! No, not that one! Mommy, you wore that one last time!)

We spend nearly every night together, either watching TV or playing on our phones, but it always seems like such a waste of time. However, when you’ve spent the day chasing after kids, or working as hard as he does, this is kinda all we can do most nights. DATE NIGHT gives us a reason to try. To dress up, just for him. To chat, laugh, plan. 

Let’s show our children that marriage is fun, and to be celebrated all year round. If you’re not married, start buying board games so you have a great collection. If you are, and want to hear some other fun idea, inbox me! We’ve had a few others that were super fun and memorable. But I’d love to hear yours: my turn is next week!

Everything You Do

I don’t often get to listen to music on the radio: we do a lot of Odyssey, Thousand Foot Krutch, Skillet and whatever the kids are jamming to. But today, in between switching cd’s, that song from Steven Curtis Chapman came on, and I left it ON, like the rebel I am. I don’t know if you’ve heard it. “Do Everything?” It’s great. Bouncy music, words we can all identify with. Sometimes, a little too much. Like today.

“You’re picking up toys on the living room floor for the fifteenth time today
Matching up socks
Sweeping up lost cheerios that got away
You put a baby on your hip
Color on your lips and head out the door
While I may not know you,
I bet I know you
Wonder sometimes, does it matter at all?”

What IS THE POINT? Why does it all have to be so mundane? Clean up the same stuff, over and over. Change a diaper. Dress in clothes, change to pajamas, change to clothes. Make meals. Hear complaints. Buy more groceries for food no one’s going to like, but it’s healthy, and that’s what I’m supposed to do. “Don’t touch! Speak with kindness. Show love! Finish this question. Time to clean up! Let’s not sit on the stove. Please don’t put that in your nose.”

Am I doing this right? What am I doing so wrong? I know the verse from Hebrews about running the race with perseverance (12:2). But how am I supposed to run when I have one kid on my ankle, and another holding onto my neck?

And I don’t think my struggle is different than anyone else. Sure, you may not have peanut butter in your hair, but we all get stuck in a funk where we are doing the same thing, day in, day out, and just don’t seem to get anywhere. Why get up in the morning? Why care? Why finish the assignment? Why smile at the complaining customer? Why care about something that won’t matter a week from now, let alone a year?

Well, the song continued.

“Well let me remind you, it all matters just as long
As you do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you,
Cause he made you,
To do
Every little thing that you do
To bring a smile to His face
Tell the story of grace
With every move that you make
And every little thing you do.”

And I’m bawling. Great. The car is silent. This isn’t a big deal for normal people, but when there is four little ones in your car and you can hear a pin drop, that’s shocking. After all, they can’t get into anything. They’re strapped in. Nope, this is “Oh-great-Mom’s-lost-it-again-just-wait-don’t-move-hopefully-it-will-pass.”

I stop the car.

The Quick One gathers up courage. “Umm, Mom? Are you CRYING?”

“YEEEES.”

“Are we late?”

“No.” (sob) And then it comes.

“YOU GUYS! I don’t have to do this ‘right!’ I don’t have to make sure everything is organized all the time! I don’t have to make sure everything you eat is exactly right. I just have to do it for Jesus! He knows who I am! He’s the one who made me! I can’t control our house. I can’t control you guys. I can just do my best, for Him, and He will be so happy! He loves me no matter what! (hiccup, blow nose) I MAKE HIM HAPPY!”

Luckily, our kids are raised in a charismatic church, because there was no awkward silence (you know, like “umm, duh? You’ve been telling us that for awhile?”)

Nope, the kids knew just what to do.

“YAYYY!!!” “Thank you, Jesus!!” “Hooray!”

And that’s it. This is running the race with perseverance: when you can’t see the whole picture. 

JUST KEEP GOING.

We can’t always analyze over and over, am I in the right place? Am I doing it the right way? Sometimes you just have to stick with it, not knowing if you are wasting you’re time, or in the middle of God’s perfect timing.

Sometimes, you just have to keep running. Or walking. Or crawling.

Whatever you’re trying, wherever you are, whatever you do, do it to make Him smile. If He hasn’t called you to move, you’re in the right place. 

For some, this may be fluff. For me, today, this is gold.