Saturday, February 27, 2010

Lazy or Creative? Frugal or Lame?

Thursday night was a special night for Nate and me: we had a date.

Only thing is, we didn't hire a babysitter.

And we didn't spend any money.

And I cooked dinner.

Are any of you still reading?
... Hello?

I'd heard of this idea before but had never done it. Without further ado, I give you...

Date Night In.

Date Night In required a bit of work up front, but it was well worth it! It actually came about almost by accident, but once the wheels were in motion, it was so fun! Here's how it went down:

It all started when Livvie & Ellia had trouble settling down during naptime. Ordinarily, I'd get irritated about it, but for some reason, around 2:30, I had a thought. "I guess they'll go to bed really early tonight! Hey, won't that be really nice for Nate and me!" I thought on it a little more, and decided to run with it!

I went in and asked Olivia if she would like to skip her nap today. You can bet she heartily agreed! I allowed her to play educational games on the computer for awhile. With Big Sister out of the room, Ellia was sound asleep within a couple of minutes. I didn't want her to sleep longer than an hour, so I got to work.

First, I made a card for Nate and taped it to the door. It read, "It's a Date--the in-home kind!" ...with the start time and some details: kid-free dinner, coffee, and a movie!

Then, I did a little bit of planning. For dinner, I decided on leftovers and fruit for the girls, and I pulled out a grown-up meal for the two of us... an Asian-inspired convenience meal that would've been too spicy for the kids. I definitely didn't want something which required a lot of effort, but something a little out-of-the-ordinary. I also roughly planned how the evening would go.

Next, I spruced myself up a little. I think this one's important! If we'd had plans to be out together, I would've made sure to do my makeup and hair, and put on something nice to wear. So I did. It took only 10 minutes, and I wondered why I don't do it every day. (Sorry, Nate! I'll work on it.)

By 4:30, Livvie & Ellia were eating their supper! Nate got home as they finished up, and shortly after that, I put the girls in the tub. They splashed and played happily as I tidied up the house a bit. I told them, "Mommy has a special surprise for you at 7 o'clock!" Livvie couldn't wait!

6:15--Time for some wrestling with their Daddy! If they were to go to bed early, they had to expend some energy! As they played, I set the table, started dinner, nursed Brienna, and moved the secondary TV into the girls' bedroom--another first! Livvie kept asking, "Is it 7 o'clock yet?"

Finally, 7:00 rolled around! I told Livvie to pick a short DVD, and then I shooed the kids into their beds and popped some popcorn. They were astounded that we were letting them watch TV IN THEIR ROOM and eat IN THEIR BEDS! While they watched their show, Nate and I ate dinner.


And, get this..
We talked.

(Photo credit: dreamstime)
It was lovely. Almost-Chinese food on placemats... and adult conversation. If I'd been thinking, I'd have lit a candle and put on some music. Next time!

We finished dinner just as the kids' movie ended, and then I cleaned up dinner while Nate built a fire in the fireplace. As he helped them brush their teeth, I sneaked the TV into our bedroom--yet another first!

After the kids went to bed, I made coffee, and we enjoyed the roaring fire awhile. Brienna went to bed at 9, and then we snuggled up and watched a movie... well, part of a movie. Gettysburg is over 5 hours long, so we'll have to watch it in several installments!

I think Nate was quite pleased with Date Night In; I know I was! It was the little, out-of-the-ordinary things that made the evening special... a kid-less dinner together and a movie in bed!

Have you ever had a Date Night In? What'd you do to make it special?


Jenny said...

I have thought of doing this many times! I just might have to try it, since it has been about 2 years since we have had a dinner without the kids!

Glad it went so well! Great idea!

Mary Ann said...

I'm a super big cheater with questions like this since we don't have any kids. We do things like this more often than not. My husband is not a big fan of going out to dinner. Sometimes I run out & get take out or I just make something simple & we relax together watching a movie or just talking. Usually it's a Saturday night thing.
It's so nice that you were able to work this out for you & Nate!
I know what you mean about making the effort to sprucing yourself up a little bit. My husband is fabulous though b/c most of the time he would prefer that I didn't wear make up, he loves jeans with a t-shirt & a baseball cap. I've got it made easy! :-)