PROJECT 52 DATE NIGHTS: Dating My Husband, One Week At A Time (week 1)

Two weeks ago I stumbled across the incredible mommyblog by Tiffany Bird at Simply Modern Mom. Like me and my AMY & REE project for 2010, where I make a new recipe from The Pioneer Woman's cookbook each week inspired by the movie and blog Julie & Julia, Tiffany wanted to do something unique and commit to a project for the new year. She came up with this really creative idea called Project 52, dating her husband one week at a time for an entire year. As parents of two tiny girls, just like me, Tiffany and her husband, Nathan, suffer from very little time alone, very few babysitters, and a very minuscule budget. Her brilliant idea was simple and included a few "rules" and she and Nathan even signed a "contract" to keep themselves in check.
I talked to Eric about joining in the project three months late, and he was as enthusiastic as I am to jump on board. I have been lamenting about us not taking enough time to nurture our relationship - to remember how we used to enjoy each other's company before there were bouts of pink eye, mountains of laundry, swimming lessons, and bathtimes. We really miss each other. This seems like the perfect way to fit it all in, especially with Tiffany's guidelines, adapted a little to fit our needs:

1) Every Friday night from 9-10pm is our date night. We usually have both girls in bed by 8:30pm. One hour is easy to commit to.

2) The majority of the time the dates will be at home so we don't need a babysitter.

3) We rotate being in charge of date nights on a monthly basis.

4) We can't do the same thing twice in one month.

5) Dates need to be free most of the time. If not free, then a budget of $20 or less. Cheaper than if we went out.

6) Need to create a date-like atmosphere. No pajamas. Mind the details and create a special event. But keep it simple.

Like all rules, a few will always be broken, adapted, etc. but we are going to try our best to stick to them. Tiffany blogs about her dates each week, and I plan to do the same. Since April was just beginning, we started our Project 52 this past week. I decided to take the month of April as mine to plan, and the first date was to be extraordinary and easy. We already had a weekend away together scheduled. Months ago I was lamenting our lack of time together alone, and how we had only gone for one night without our kids twice in the past six years. SIX LONG YEARS. So, over Eric's spring break from BSU, we planned a really cheap getaway to Baker City, Oregon. Not the most exciting of places, but neither of us have ever been there, we wanted to stay in this cool newly remodeled historic (and haunted) hotel, and, honestly, we didn't really care if we just ordered room service and never left the room.

The plan was to take the girls to my dad's place in Ontario, Oregon, on Friday night and leave them there for our Saturday night of freedom. Friday also happened to be Alice's second birthday, in which she proceeded to get crabbier and crabbier as the day progressed and ended out her special day by projectile vomiting not once, but twice. And then developed a really high fever. Disappointed, I called the Geiser Grand and explained that I was going to have to cancel our trip and reservations. The receptionist could read the sadness and desperation in my voice and let me reschedule our room at a later date for no charge. It'll now be June before I get a night away with my hubby, but sometimes life and motherhood take precedence.

So we ended up tending to a really sick baby at my dad's place all weekend, but had a great time watching movies, playing Wii, hiding Easter eggs, and taking long naps. Eric and I did manage to get away for a few hours on a date on Saturday - we spent an hour or two browsing thrift shops and a flea market in Ontario. Later that night we spent more than $20, which totally contradicts the idea of Project 52, going to the movie theater to see Hot Tub Time Machine. The movie was horrible, but come on, our other options were Clash of the Titans, The Bounty Hunter, and that new Miley Cyrus thing. The date redeemed itself with a delicious Mexican dinner at Tacos el Zarape, a little gem of a place hidden behind the Pilot gas station near the freeway. While this was totally not within the guidelines of Project 52 or our normal nights, it is always fun, every once in a while, to have an old school, traditional date. It kind of felt like we were in high school again, holding hands during a really bad 80s movie. And we actually had time during our meal to enjoy it leisurely, order a beer, and have a conversation. And we sat IN THE BAR.

I'm really excited to post about our dates each week, and hope you'll follow along, as we have some fun ideas planned. Actually, YOU should think about joining in, too, with your significant other. It is a realistic project with a focus on nurturing our most personal relationships, so what could be bad about that? And we're bound to have a good time and learn a few new things about each other along the way.