As far as Valentine’s Day goes, my husband and I have never really celebrated it. I suppose there was that one year when Mark bought me a couple of baby guinea pigs because I said I wanted a real, human baby. But in general, we’ve always let V-Day pass on by, perhaps because Mark and I have always made a habit of doing regular date nights. Though now that we are new parents and have not had a date night in six months, Valentine’s Day seems like a good excuse to force a date! Even more importantly than that, it is an opportunity to think about our relationship (read: appreciate our relationship) and make spending time together a priority.
Just recently, I read a great idea about pre-planning one date per month. The idea behind the article was that quality is better over quality, and that if you take the time to plan a no-babies night, you can actually make it happen! So here’s our year of dates at a glance. I did my best to make sure they weren’t too expensive either and that a few were home based so we won’t always have to get a babysitter:
February- A Romantic Dinner
Mark and I have been dying to get back to a lovely little downtown French bistro, so we’re going to spend our first date night going for dinner. We are planning our date for Valentine’s weekend, but not actual Valentine’s day so it will be less busy, crammed with other young lovers, and (hopefully) less expensive!
March- A Hockey Game
We’ve been wanting to check out a Halifax Moosehead’s game all season, but we haven’t gotten around to it yet. Last year, we went to a few university games and had a great time, but they’re not quite the same as an arena packed full of thousands of fans.
April- Try a New Recipe
Our New Year’s resolution was to expand our cooking repertoire. I thought it would be fun to make a date of choosing and preparing dinner together from start to finish – after the baby goes to bed, of course.
May- Visit the Art Gallery
Another thing I’ve wanted to try out for the past year. Our art gallery has free admission on Thursday nights, so I would love to spend an enriching evening strolling through the art gallery, holding hands and maybe stealing a kiss or two.
June- Make Ice Cream
It’s summer! And we have an ice cream maker we bought over a year ago that’s just sitting there, collecting dust in our cupboard. It would be a great summer treat to make ice cream together. Maybe we could even compile all our favourite foods. Peanut butter, chocolate, coffee, cinnamon ice cream, anyone?
July- A Late Night Picnic & Star Gazing
Every time I visit the country, I just look up in wonder at the stars. I thought a romantic and cheap date night would be to head out for a late night picnic and some star gazing. We can have a friend come by once the baby is already sleeping!
August- Play Catch
When we lived in North Vancouver, we used to make a point of getting out once a week to throw a ball around. Actually, we started with badminton, but I was so terrible that we moved onto baseball. It was a lot of fun and would be a great to make it a date for this summer!
September- Test Drive Nice Cars
Mark loves cars and we had a great time test driving cars when we were looking, earlier last year. However, the Kias and Hyundais we were considering were far from exciting to take out for a spin. So I thought, why not head out one evening to test drive cars priced out of our range? Sounds like fun, right?
October- Visit the Bookstore & Have a Hot Drink
This is another one of our favorite activities that has fallen by the wayside since we’ve become parents. A great fall date is heading to the book store for the evening and strolling around with a nice hot bevie. The smell of new books and coffee mixing together and the quiet that tends to surround books, makes for a nice, relaxing environment.
November- Games Night
Mark loves video games but he rarely has a chance to play them. I thought it would be fun to have a games night with him. Even though I’m terrible, it should be good for a few laughs. If we’re feeling really adventurous we can play online and have eight year olds smack talk us all night long.
December- Drive and Look at Christmas Lights
Flickr George Deputee
This is a date we could even bring a sleeping baby along for. One of our favorite Christmas activities is to go looking for Christmas lights. There’s something about listening to a Christmas tune in a nice warm car, surrounded by sparkling lights that’s super romantic.
Now all I have to do is line up a semi regular babysitter and my year of dates is complete! Do you have a regular date night with your significant other? What are some of your ideas? Please feel free to share as it’ll help get started on an entirely new list for 2014!