Ali wants to know: Do you go on regular dates?
(This is Meredith, the wife):
I don't know that we date with regularity, but yes, we do go out on dates and we love them! We're inching closer to the day that we can leave our kids at home without a sitter, but we're not comfortable with that just yet so finances are definitely something we have to consider. By the time you pay a sitter, go out to eat, and see a movie, you can easily spend $100. I believe it's important to put time and money into your relationship, but sometimes we have to get creative with our options.
John worked at home for a few years and we used to take our kids to school/preschool and go to Starbucks for a couple of hours. He always told me I was a cheap date. Sometimes we'd wander around the library (free!) or drive around and look at old houses downtown or go on a hike. These days it works well for us to meet for lunch while the kids are in school. Those lunch dates are my favorites. I especially love it when John calls and says, "Hey, wanna meet me at Chipotle in a little while?"
When our kids were really small, we did lots of "at home" dates. We'd make dinner or get take-out and eat together after the kids were in bed. Sometimes we'd eat while we watched a tv show or a movie. It was fun because we planned it and looked forward to it all day.
As for overnight dates, they're wonderful but we don't get very many of them. Probably because we live far away from family and we only have one or two families that we're comfortable leaving our kids with.
We are very protective of our family time on weekends. We spend a lot of quality time with our kiddos; we enjoy hanging out with them and I think they enjoy hanging out with us too. I believe that it's good for them to see us step away on a date every so often, and realize that dad and mom need some alone time.
How do you make time for each other, plus make time for your 3 kids?
(this is John, the husband)
Verily, verily, there is a way that seemeth right unto a husband and father who seeketh to make equal time for those he loveth, but yea he walketh through the valley of the shadow and somebody is always sure that everyone else got the goldmine whilst they got the shaft.
But I say unto thee, above all things, seek ye first your spouse that your days may be long upon the earth and forget not all her benefits. At the same time, forget not that for every child, turn, turn, turn, there is a season and sometimes thy middle daughter’s weeping lasteth beyond the night and no joy cometh in the morning and she needeth reassurance that her father will never leave or forsake her. Or thy firstborn son, thy strength, who once was blind but now has been granted sight to see nothing but perky middleschool girls with perfect 20/20 and he needeth both thy counsel and wisdom. Fathers, do not exasperate your children, nor look down upon their youth, for you shall need them one day to feed you pudding and change the channel.
But always be quick to return to the wife of thy youth, slow to make excuses for there are no righteous excuses, no not one, and even slower to believe that even though thou hast the desire to do better next time, thou are a prisoner to thy nature: namely, there are four of them and one of thee, and thou art a wretched one at that bound by time and space. What I want to do I do not do and what I don’t want to do I do. What shall we say then? We find these truths to be self-evident – 1. Gird up thy loins, my brother and 2. a little wine is good for the stomach.
How do you celebrate anniversaries?
(this is Mer, the wife)
I think it all depends on our budget and our babysitting options. The last two years we've gone out for dinner and a movie. Two years ago, our kids were in Arkansas with their grandparents so we were able to spend a few days at a beautiful cabin in the mountains. This summer we'll celebrate our twentieth so we're planning a special trip!!!
Our Anniversary Box is something I created several years ago and no matter what we do to celebrate, it's always a special part of our day!