For our anniversary this year I wasn't sure what to get Brad. He's always so good about getting me a nice present. He likes to get something that coordinates with the traditional gift for that year. The first year is paper so he made me a photo book from Shutterfly. The second year is cotton so he let me buy a dress for our date to the ballet. The third year is leather. He bought me a leather Pandora bracelet and let me pick out the first couple charms. His gifts are always so thoughtful. I want to do the same for him, but it's a lot harder to buy for him than it is for me! Also, I knew that things were going to be different for us now that we have Micah. Our lives have changed so much and so has our relationship.
After having Micah for only two months I knew that our world revolved around him. We didn't want to leave him with anyone else. It was hard for us to make time for each other because we were so wrapped up in him. But we both know how important it is that we make each other a priority. Our marriage is a top priority for both of us, and we know that we have to work hard at keeping it that way. It's important that our children see how much we love each other and that we make time for each other. Brad and I always said once we had kids we would make sure to have regular date nights, but I knew that if we didn't make some sort of prior commitment that would be really difficult to keep to. So, for our anniversary I decided to make him a book of monthly dates. Each month has two dates: a "going out" date and a "staying in" date. Here's what we've done so far:
January's going out date was sledding and hot chocolate. Brad and I love to go sledding and drink hot chocolate afterwards. Unfortunately, we didn't get enough snow to go sledding in January,and when it came in February Brad had to work. So, we were unable to do that one. Our staying in date was a movie theme night. We watched "Eat, Pray, Love" and had italian food. Neither of us really loved the movie, but it was nice to just spend time on the couch together.
February's going out date was dinner at a brewery. Okay, I have to admit, we didn't start off so well on the whole "going out" thing. We never made it to a brewery. We went to Giordano's for Valentine's Day and with Brad's new work schedule we just never had the opportunity to go out for dinner again. However, we will make it to a brewery eventually. I swear. Our staying in date was a TV marathon. As I've mentioned before, Brad and I don't have TV channels, but we do have several TV shows on DVD. One of our favorites is LOST and we are so far behind (we own all of the seasons, but have not seen the last two)! So, one night we stayed up until about 3:00 in the morning watching LOST. I think we're about halfway through the season. So glad we did that because it really renewed our love for LOST. Now, when we have time at night we like to sit down and catch an episode or two so that we can catch up with the rest of the world!
Okay, March we did way better. When Brad was a kid he used to love going to watch the Chicago Wolves play. The Wolves are the amateur hockey team in Chicago. So, we got tickets and went to a game in March. My sister stayed home with Micah. We got lunch before the game (lunch without Micah was so weird!) and just enjoyed each other's company. The game was fun. We had pretty good seats and the Wolves were winning when we left (Mom can still only handle so much time away from Micah!). We both agreed that it was so nice to just be the two of us and it really helped affirm that we need to make it a priority to go out without Micah regularly. Our stay in date for March was to do a puzzle together. I have many memories of my grandma Biggy doing puzzles in her dining room when I was growing up. There was always a puzzle on the dining room table and every now and then I would stop and try to put a couple pieces in (I only had enough patience for one or two pieces). So, I asked my Aunt Tracy if she had any more of Grandma's puzzles and she gave us a couple. Brad picked a water-theme one and we set out to do a 1000-piece puzzle. Brad loved doing the puzzle! He had so much patience and really enjoyed picking out similar pieces and trying to find where they fit. I, on the other hand, lasted about 2 hours and then I was done. And I only lasted that long because we were working on the edge and I knew those pieces had to fit together. It took us almost the whole month of March to complete the puzzle. Every night Brad would work a little bit on the puzzle. I would add a piece of two and he would complete whole sections. It took up our whole coffee table and we were very thankful that Micah is not mobile enough to get at it yet! We had a great time doing it together and Brad discovered that he really enjoys doing puzzles!
We're both really looking forward to the rest of our dates. I'm hoping to write about each date after it happens now. Not only to inspire other people to make time for their marriage despite all of life's busyness, but also to give you ideas of fun things to do together (some completely free!).
Here are some pictures from our March dates: