Date night!

My husband and I went out for a date night last night.  We were at P.F. Chang’s, our old standby.  It’s our go-to spot because it is

  • Close by

  • Fairly reasonably priced for a special occasion sit-down restaurant

  • Tasty

  • Has a very reliable gluten-free menu

Before going gluten-free, we used to never go to the same spot twice.  We loved little hole-in-the-wall mom ‘n’ pop ethnic spots.  Oh, well.

On this occasion, though, being creatures of habit paid off.  As we had our nose in the menu, cross-referencing the g.f. menu with the fixed-price dinner-for-two menu, I glanced over at the couple who had just been seated next to us, and it was some old friends, Brian and Bev.  I’ve known Brian since we were seven, and Bev since we were freshman in high school.  🙂  The funny thing was, previously, I hadn’t seen Beverly in at least a year, but had seen her just the day before, when I dropped off some homeschooling books at her home, to help her decide between curricula.  Twice in two days!  B&B had planned to meet another couple, Julie & Lee.  I’ve known Lee since we were… oh, probably four or five years old, as our families attended the same church.  Martin had never met Julie & Lee, but it was no matter.  We pushed two tables together, and proceeded to chat up a storm as we ate together.  It was great fun!

And then, Martin and I went to see Captain America.  I thought it was OK, though as far as super hero movies go, I liked Thor better.  But, I enjoyed my time with my hubby, and we’re happy to add an action movie to the mental folder entitled Appropriate for Our Kids.

My sister and I chatted on the phone as I was getting ready, and I told her that even though it’s not really unique or creative, I really enjoy dinner and a movie with my husband.  Or a baseball game.  Both of those, with the cost of babysitting added in, end up being really pricey.  Now that we’ve thoroughly tapped our date-night envelope in the budget for a good month or more, I was thinking about how my children are old enough that Martin and I could probably “sneak” out after the girls are in bed for a quick coffee up the road for more frequent, much less expensive date nights.

How about you?  If you’re married, do you and your hubby have a date night?  Do you go for less-often “fancier” date nights?  Or just out for coffee or dessert somewhere for an hour or so?  Or?  Do you pay a babysitter, trade babysitting with friends, or just leave your children alone?


About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on July 23, 2011, in Friendships, gluten-free, Marriage, Movies, The Dear Hubby, The Kids. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. We TRY to have a regular date night. Lately, though, it hasn’t happened. Our go-to babysitter was out of the state for a month and so we pretty much just stayed home watching movies. It’s been TWO MONTHS since we got out alone! YIKES!!!

    Usually our dates are fairly inexpensive–a picnic, a movie at the cheap theater ($3 movies!), just strolling somewhere together, going to a bookstore and getting coffee and looking through travel magazines. We are great at living in a fantasy world of exotic international travel.

    But, LAST NIGHT we did get out. We went shopping in the Wholesale District in Los Angeles. Great fun! Then we went out for a fancy dinner. Some friends had given us a gift card for $100 at a nice restaurant! So, we had a great time and spent the WHOLE THING! (which is a really big deal for us.) Then we drove to a scenic spot. Told Gana to take me somewhere we could kiss. LOL! But, thanks to Los Angeles smog, the scenic spot was less romantic than it could have been. 🙂

    We are going to TRY to get out on a weekly basis for the next few months. Because then I’ll have a new baby and life will be turned upside down for a bit again!

  2. We have not paid a babysitter for 2 years. But my kids are older 13, 12 and 8. We sneak out all the time for lunch, coffee, errands, and occasionally dinner, but not often. We also do a homegroup. I find that just being able to spend some uninterrupted time with him doing whatever is really good for us, I don’t need a fancy dinner. We trained them to stay alone gradually and they call if needed. I did the babysitting thing for about 10 years and enjoy this season immensely. I would do the leave after girls are in bed…..that sounds really good.

  3. I live in a town with one restaurant. Seriously. And it’s not a very good one, haha… And we are too poor to afford a baby-sitter, or maybe just too cheap, because really, there is nowhere to go here where I wouldn’t want to take the kids too. We were just on holidays and it was the first time in close to a year that my husband and I went somewhere alone. First of all, we went to a wedding reception, but that didn’t count as a date because Josh mc’d… Then we were able to watch a movie together, and that was pretty neat because we hadn’t been to the theatre in over a year. I’m not really complaining that much though, because that’s just the way it is because of our situation. We do spend a lot of time together in the evenings after the kids are in bed.

  4. Because I have an intense, three-week reaction to gluten (even cross-contamination), eating at a restaurant has not been worth the risk for us. We also have three boys (twelve, seven, and four), and don’t feel like they are ready to be home alone yet. We purpose to spend time together each evening after the kids are in bed, but we have also found a creative stay-at-home date night for special occasions. As an added benefit, it also helps our kids really appreciate and support our evening alone together.

    Our oldest son loves to cook, so he plans a meal that he can prepare, and spends the afternoon getting everything ready (I usually contribute some special dish that my husband particularly likes as well). We set up a table outside, and our middle son (who is very creative) sets the table with fancy dishes, candles and other decorations. Our youngest son is the host, who takes us out to our table, and comes out periodically to ask if we are ready for our next course (salad, appetizer, main course, and then dessert!). The older two boys keep our glasses filled and bring out food, and serve themselves a simple dinner inside. After dinner, the kids work together to do all the clean-up and then watch a movie, while we sit and talk in lounge chairs together under the stars. The boys are responsible to get themselves ready for bed, and we just come and tuck them in.

    We really play the whole thing up as a family, and the kids get so excited about coming up with ideas to make the evening special for us. At first, I was concerned that it might seem like a burden to them, but it has been just the opposite. Obviously, this date-night doesn’t work so well during summer here in Phoenix, but it is great for spring or fall! In fact, the last time we did this, the evenings were still a little cold, and we ended up using sleeping bags to stay warm. Definitely a special time for us!

    • That sounds lovely, Esther!

      I’m in the Phx area, too. 🙂

      Are you on the Phoenix Celiac Yahoo group? I have felt thankful — many times — that my reactions to gluten, which I thought were quite severe, are nothing compared to what some suffer! I never eat gluten knowingly or on purpose, and always stick to what’s safest… that, added with the fact that we eat out about once every two weeks or so (and everything else is made from scratch… GF boxed/prepared/mixes/etc are almost always too expensive for me!), it seems like my body is able to weather the potential cross-contamination from time to time.

      How long have you been g.f.? Perhaps the longer you heal, the less violently your body will react to very small amounts of gluten in the future.

      And, hey! Maybe you and your hubby could slip out for a coffee, too. But if you go to Starbucks, avoid all the iced drinks, as many of them contain gluten. 🙂 (If you’re interested, e-mail me with what part of the Valley and if we aren’t far from each other, I may be able to send you the contact info of some potential babysitters. )

  5. Once our older 2 reached their teen years and the youngest wasn’t really little anymore, dh and I had great date nights about twice/month. We enjoyed those evenings so much! Usually dinner and then anything else – running an errand/shopping/walking. Before those days, when the kids were all younger, we had home “date nights”… our TV is in the basement w/ no cable, so it was a treat and close to a get-away to go downstairs to watch a movie by ourselves.

    Then we went and had another baby. 🙂 We’ve tried taking her along on a couple of date night attempts, but mostly we’ve decided it’s not worth it – she’s just not a restaurant person at this point (21 months)! What we do is go for walks many evenings around the neighborhood after we put her to bed. We have 3 teens and one pre-teen now, so plenty of capable helpers here with her if she needs someone. The walks are really a nice way to connect, especially since our boys are up later than we are a lot of the time, and Emery’s crib is in our room, so there’s not really any other way to talk w/out kids around.

    • Hi, Cindy!!

      Ah, just a walk. 🙂 Of my husband, when we were engaged, I used to say that the only negative thing I could say about him was that he didn’t like to go for walks, which I adored. I decided that it wasn’t enough points against him, and I went ahead and married him anyway. 🙂 Hahaha! Even though the weather is still too hot here, even after the sun is down, to go for a walk, I think he may be softening on the issue… I’ll hit him up in a couple of months.

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