The husband and I are celebrating our nine year anniversary this year with another epic trip to Italy. However, because of timing and my need to hoard vacation days for another vacation later this year, our flight schedule has us landing in Rome on our actual anniversary with massive jet lag and still a full day of travel before we get to our first destination. Since sleeping on planes and trains and dragging our luggage through cities doesn’t scream anniversary, I decided to plan a small surprise before we left town.
I struggled with ideas for the surprise. A fancy dinner didn’t seem appropriate, since we are about to eat our way through all of the delicious Italian food and wine. A movie date didn’t seem right either. Instead, I booked us a time slot at iFLY Dallas. If you haven’t been before, it is basically indoor skydiving. They opened in Frisco about two years ago and we hadn’t tried it out yet. It seemed like a fun way to celebrate nine years of marriage – by doing something completely different!
I booked our appointment online and decided to add on some additional minutes to the package so that we got a bit more flight time in. We had to trek all the way to the suburbs for this, so I wanted to make the trip worth it! On the way there, I played a custom playlist to give him hints to where we were headed.
After we checked in, we had about 15 minutes to watch one of the groups before our safety class. Although I had seen some video online, watching in person was way better. By the time our safety class started, we were both pretty excited.
After a safety video and some important information from our instructor, we geared up with suits, goggles, earplugs, and helmets. A few pro tips:
Don’t wear any jewelry. There are lockers to secure your valuables, so put them there or leave them at home. This includes wedding rings.
Wear shoes that lace up tight. Slip on shoes can fly off and no one wants to be in a wind tunnel with your shoe.
Go casual – jeans or shorts and a t-shirt is just fine.
Your hair will be a disaster after you are done. Just own it. Bring a wide-tooth comb or just plan to rock a crazy style until you get home.
Once we were geared up it was time to start our group’s turn. I have to say it was a pretty awesome experience. You can’t hear anything in there, so it is all hand signals and maybe some lip reading as your instructor sees you are ready to try a few tricks. Blake and I learned how to move forward and back in the tunnel, as well as up and down vertically. We also learned to spin a bit, although mine needs a bit of work. I made good friends with one side of the tunnel wall. Oops! For the last 30 seconds of the second round the instructor grabs your suit and takes you for a fun spin up and down vertically. I loved every second of it.
After you are done, the instructor will give you a certificate and go over with you how you did and give you some pointers for the next time. Blake and I happily signed up for another package, then went out for margaritas to celebrate.
It was definitely a good choice for our anniversary and I’m glad we did something other than the usual nice dinner and drinks. What are your anniversary traditions? Share with us in the comments – I’m going to need some new ideas for the 10th anniversary next year!
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be just about couples. About six years ago, a tradition was started with my sisters when we decided to do a couple’s Valentine’s Day celebration which includes a fancy dinner and possibly dancing…we call it Valentineapalooza. At the time, we were trying to coordinate babysitters (ahem, my parents) and it just made sense to all go out together instead of trying to coordinate who would get to go out for Valentine’s Day. Plus, we love hanging out with one another, so we knew it would be extra fun to go out as new parents and have a good time celebrating together.
The formula to a successful Valentineapalooza consists of of four things:
1. Great company-Valentineapalooza #6 took place in Lubbock, Texas and consisted of six couples we love dearly, but don’t get to see enough. Your group definitely doesn’t have to be this large. And if you’re single, your group can consist of all ladies. This can be done with a co-ed group that are not necessarily couples either. It’s really up to you. The point is to plan a fun night out with a group that you love. And to have fun!
2. Fancy dinner – Reservations for Valentine’s Day must be done very far in advance, especially for larger groups, so make sure your group can make a decision on a place to eat and book it ASAP. We had the pleasure of having a connection to The Tech Club and got to dine overseeing an amazing view of the Texas Tech football field. Also, our group was large enough to be accommodated with a private room, so we had a cozy time. When your daily dinner plans consist of Chick-Fil-A takeout or quick, homemade meals, this is quite the treat. Getting waited on hand and foot on this special night makes us feel like kings.
3. After hours fun – There are several options for after-dinner fun. This year, ours consisted of taking a limo and riding to different destinations for drinks and dancing. We chose to get a limo because it made it easier for all of us to travel together and also to avoid drinking and driving. In previous years, we stayed at a Marriott hotel that was walking distance to The Shops at Legacy where there is an abundant night life. The point of Valentineapalooza is to get out and have fun, so there’s many options for after hours activities. At the end of the night, we took our limo to Whataburger. Yes, we are so classy.
4. Kid-free hotel stay – I don’t know about you mother’s out there but at my house, kids get put in their own beds and somehow our three year-old always wanders over to my bed and ends up being my backpack for the remainder of the night. A Valentineapalooza hotel stay without little people waking me up in the middle of the night or at the butt crack of dawn is like heaven to both my husband and me. We had the luxury of staying at the Overton Hotel which is located right across the street from The Tech Club. As parents, we can’t even shower or take a bathroom break without little feet following us around. Having a long, hot shower and taking my time putting on my makeup without getting it swiped by Babyzilla was nice. Michael took a long nap while I got ready because that’s what he does when he gets a moment to slow down. I watched the news instead of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. It’s the small things people.
Valentineapalooza has become a tradition for us and we plan to continue planning it for years to come. I also want to say that for my husband and myself, it’s important to make this event about us and enjoy each other’s company. We typically have a Kid Valentine’s Day celebration prior to our Valentineapalooza date night event because we love our kids too. Do you have special Valentine’s Day you would like to share with us? Are they kid-free or kid friendly? Share your ideas with us in the comments.
After twelve years, two kids, and three dogs, it takes a bit of effort and planning for Michael and I to go out on a Date Night. It’s funny because we dated in college and then got married and waited about five years to have kids, yet I can’t quite remember what we used to do before the clones came along in a galaxy far, far away…No, but really, one thing my hubs and I are really good at is making time for one another. Fifteen years ago, I met this shy, quiet nerd in programming class at Texas Tech, and he’s been my best friend ever since. We love spending time together and because of our crazy busy lives, it takes effort to plan those delicious little date nights.
I’m going to be honest…sometimes I want a romantic night out with a fancy dinner and time to talk about feelings. Other times, I’m happy if a date consists of sitting on the couch in my yoga pants putting away pizza and champagne while watching our favorite Netflix shows. Either way, the point is that we make time to spend with one another to make sure we are connected. And I’m one of those people that needs to have my craziness balanced by doing a sanity check with my husband. He’s calm, cool and collected. To quote the Dixie Chicks, he’s the one “who keeps the world at bay for me”. I want to share with you some of my favorite Date Night ideas which keep our relationship (and mostly me) from getting lost in our busy lives.
Date Night on Spur of the Moment.I have the luxury of living a street away from my parents, so I’m going to admit that my setup is more than ideal. Spontaneity is something that is nearly impossible when you have schedules and kids and demanding jobs, but it is still possible. For those times, my suggestions for easy Date Nights include the following:
1. Lunch Dates. I schedule appointments on my calendar for lunch dates with Michael. That way, we both have our schedules blocked off and can go catch up during a quick lunch break. We have our “Go To” places because we have been doing this for year so we know how to maximize our time. It’s always refreshing to bounce an idea off him or share whatever struggle I may be going through that day, and I always have a better afternoon because of it. During Holidays, we utilize lunch dates to shop for Christmas presents. Other times, we may need to go to the furniture store without the clones hanging all over the place. It’s crazy but this type of stuff is fun for us. Just hanging out with each other looking at stuff.
2. Happy Hour. Yes! Instead of going directly home, I’ve found that if I can leave work a little bit early on a Friday and meet Michael at a local bar, we get to spend an hour or so together before our weekend full of activities begins. That’s heaven. It’s so simple yet so appreciated to get to escape for a little while, and just enjoy having a conversation without having to take someone to use the bathroom.
3. Movie Night on the Couch a.k.a. “Champagne Sunday”. This is extremely popular in my circle of friends for obvious reasons (does not require a babysitter!). The kids go to bed early on Sundays because they need to be ready for another productive week, so we choose to be a little bad on Sundays. We watch our list of shows (Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Scandal, Big Bang Theory…etc.) and close out the weekend by relaxing with one another. Please note “Champagne Sunday” does not have to occur on Sundays and can be moved to any day of the week. Sometimes, we have “Champagne Sunday” on a Thursday. You just have to be willing to live with the sacrifice the next day.
Date Night with Some Effort.Every once in a while, the stars align and we get a Saturday evening with absolutely nothing to do and a chance to attend something alone. For those Date Nights, we love to do the following:
1. Going to the Movies. Michael and I love the same type of shows and also have the same taste in movies. It’s a treat for us to go to the local iPic theater (where you can pick your own seat!) and not have to wait in line, and watch a movie together. We don’t get to go to the movies often so when we do go, we are beyond giddy! We are both into the same fandoms, so it’s a real treat for us to watch a movie and then spend the rest of the night and the next day talking about it.
2. Attending Concerts/Sporting Events. Going to a music concert or attending a football game without your kids is magical. Especially if it includes attending the One Republic concert which is one of both mine and Michael’s all time favorite bands. I dance like no one is watching so I may have wet myself from dancing so hard to “Lose Myself”. Concerts can be very pricey so it’s a real treat if we get to see an artist we both like. On the same note, attending sporting events together is also a good way to have Date Night. Michael and I are both Texas Tech alumni so we love cheering on the Red Raiders at football games.
3. Piggybacking on Work Events. The best thing about turning a work event into Date Night is that it is usually cost and time effective! I used to work for a company that would host Christmas parties at extravagant locations like the Flight Museum and the Dallas Symphony. They made for a romantic backdrop to a night out alone. Sure, it’s still a “work function”, but we made the best of it.
Date Night Long Term Planning Required.I would consider these types of Date Nights more like very strategically planned vacations or events.
1. Just Us Vacations. These are not only fun to attend, but all of the build up and anticipation leading up to the date is also exciting. We went to Hawaii for our 10 year wedding anniversary and planned it about six months in advance. Anytime we were feeling frustrated over the pressures of life, we would look at each other and say, “Hawaii!!!!”. We spent a week away from work, kids, and everything in between and it was amazing. Every once in a while, we saw families with small children and felt a twinge of guilt. Then, we would laugh and talk about how relaxed we felt at that moment. Plus, those babies were in good hands (thanks Mom and Dad).
2. Weddings. The last few weddings we have attended have presented opportunities for us to decide on whether we should take the kids, or not? Well, we chose to go alone. Amanda decided to have a destination wedding so we planned to attend her Cozumel wedding as a party of two. Again, it was an opportunity for us to travel somewhere and have a grown-up vacation.
3. Holidays/Anniversaries. Valentine’s Day is a staycation for us. Five years ago, we decided to make Valentine’s Day the holiday where we get together with our sisters and their spouses make a whole weekend out of it! We pick a fancy restaurant (usually nearby) and then go out dancing. We usually finish out the night by staying in a hotel in town and then waking up to a late brunch the next day. Our sisters have young kids too so this is a real treat for everyone.
No matter how busy life gets, I need to feel like my time with Michael is there. I love our kids and our wonderful and crazy life, but sometimes it’s just gotta be “us”. How do you plan Date Night? Let us know how often you and your lover plan Date Nights and what kinds of activities (PG!) you do.