A few weeks ago, I sent Justin the following email:
Once a month, on a designated day, we take turns planning a date for us. This is a date with the focus of having a good time, spending time together, and getting to do fun things. Movies are out as options due to the cop out quality and lack of communication.
Each date will have a $xx budget. The planner can use all of the money or save it for their next date.
The planner will be in charge of arranging childcare for the date. If childcare needs to be paid for, it will come out of the date's budget.
Day dates are preferred to increase variety of available activities. Calendar dates can be changed to allow for specific activities to be done, if necessary.
The writer of this proposition will plan the first date, unless requested otherwise."
Justin accepted the proposition and yesterday was our first date. I was in charge of the planning. In the fall I had won a gift certificate for studio time at a pottery studio. I intended for us to use it as a date, so I figured this would be a good time to start. At the auction (so I didn't "win" so much as was the highest bidder) the gift certificate was advertised with a pottery wheel and clay and said we could make our creations. I took pottery in high school and really liked it and have been wanting to get back to it, so this was a perfect date for us. There aren't many art mediums that Justin and I can actually do together since I can barely draw a stick figure. Friday I went online to make sure I didn't need to book studio time or have a reservation or anything like that. I had actually meant to do this a couple weeks ago, but I am apparently running behind at life right now. I see that this "pottery" place is more like The Painted Penguin in the mall. Here is a pre-made mold thingy, and you can paint it. As previously mentioned, I can't draw a stick figure so this would turn out to be a completely frustrating date for me and it would have just moved over to the lame category for Justin. It really would be like giving the artist a paint by number.
So we had to brainstorm. Turns out there were a few things we needed to shop for so we actually decided to go shopping for our date. We first went to lunch. We ate at Kona Grill in Oak Brook (I think) and it was excellent. I had never been there before. Justin often gets to go to restaurants for work and always talks about taking me, so when suddenly we were left with no plans I told him to just pick a place. It is Hawaiian style dining. Here is a bonus for the lunch date. Monday through Saturday if you eat in the lounge, they have half price appetizers, pizzas, and some sushi rolls. There are also pretty decently priced drink specials ($4 martinis and wine). We had avocado egg rolls for our appetizer. So, so, so, so good. It was good fat fried in bad fat. What could be better? Justin was enticed by the 1/2 price sushi rolls and ordered way too much. A picture of his plate will be posted if it ever shows up in my inbox. I had the Thai peanut chicken noodles. Loved it. We took our time eating and brainstormed for future date ideas. This was an excellent use of our time because it has made us both excited for future dates. We have a list of ideas that will pretty much last us for the next year. I am personally a little sad that we only get to do stuff like this once a month. Obviously we could go out more often, it just really isn't in the either the time or financial budgets. **The picture showed up at 1:30am.
The shopping purchases weren't included in our date budget. They were things that we planned to buy no matter what. We went shoe shopping for Justin. It is much easier to do this without Ava wanting to play with all the shoes she sees. We then went make up shopping for me. I needed new mascara after the whole pink eye situation. I love Justin because he doesn't mind looking at 50 different lipsticks to find the right color. We went to Ulta, MAC, and Sephora. It was an excellent time and I love just looking at pretty things.
Total cost: $50
So that was our date. I have mentioned this new plan to a few people. I am thinking about posting the dates on a different blog and having others post their "date reviews" to help share ideas on what worked and what didn't. I think it is important to not be stuck in a rut. It is fun to just get out there and do things that you can't or don't do with your kids. Have hobbies and interests. Get out there and do things. Let me know if you would be interested in sharing your date reviews and taking part in Proposition 4/17.