Monday, February 13, 2012

nerd love

newly engaged us. san francisco, april 2002
us sf hearts
Look at us. 
Love in bloom. Twitterpation
The world (or at least the Golden Gate Bridge) at our finger tips. 
We were married three months later, and quickly settled into newly wedded bliss. 
Eating every meal together. Grocery shopping together. Signing up for classes at school......together, and skipping merrily across campus hand in hand, cartoon birds all-a-flutter.

We were set.....right? 
I mean, after you get married, you're good to go--Happily Ever After is what they call it, I think. have to WORK at marriage, right? 
yes you do.

We have been married for almost 10 years. 
(TEN YEARS. I cannot tell you enough how much this boggles my mind daily!! where does time go?) 

Ten years later, life is wonderful, and life is busy. 
But with the busyness, we just can't do everything together anymore (gasp!)  

If you have ever read any literature on happy marriages, they will all give the same piece of advice. 
Get out! Spend time together! 
One on one. 
Invite those cartoon birds to sit upon your shoulder and whistle a tune!
But not just often.


Let me tell you a story: 
Where we live right now is, a, let's just say it's funny. 
Yes, funny is a good word, for now, and fits best since this is a non-swearing blog. 

So yeah, it's funny. 
If people aren't old, they are super old. And if by some slim chance they are not old or super old, they are mostly likely just weird, living in an old persons basement. 
Can you visualize where I live now? 
(be sure to visualize really nice lawns though, note the old people)

And since we have no family around for exactly one bazillion miles.........we don't go out. 
ever. (hangs head)
sad, but true. 
We joke that we get dates quarterly, when we visit family.  We joke, but that my friends is a fact. 
We are lucky that a few times a year grandmas LOVE to take the Littles for days at a time, 
so we can go on super dates, and spend extra time together. 
So we DO have that going for us, and we very much look forward to our quarterly visits with each other.

But we have a few tricks up our sleeve, yes, we do. 
It would be really easy (seriously, sooo easy) to throw our hands up in the air and give up. 

"See you in a few years!" I would say,
"Maybe I'll bump into you sometime!" he would mostly likely say back.

That would be our easiest option.

But, if you know anything about marriage, or if you read the first few lines of this very blog post, 
then you know,
marriage takes work. 

And so, we are working, together--very hard, at finding time here and time there for each other.
And we will take it any way we can get it.

We have weekend nights where we get the kids to bed early, with a movie on the laptop in their "fort", and they just think it's the BEST (poor things have no idea we are shooing them away!) We make sure to tell them that it's OUR date night, because we like them to know how important it is for us to spend time together. We tuck them in, and then share a treat on the couch while we watch some kind of nerdy documentary.

We play Scrabble. 
We actually kind of play alot of Scrabble, and that paired with the documentary thing pretty much confirms the fact that we are indeed, nerds. 
oh, nerd love.

We go to the gym. 
"BORING!" you yell at me. But wait, let me finish. 
We are not side by side on the Stairstepper in our matching sweatbands. 
We are not that nerdy, please believe me. 
Our gym has a rock wall that up until last month we had never used. Never. In five years. Why? It had never even crossed my mind! 
But then we realized......wait.....the kids are playing happily in their part of the gym.....why don't we play too? So we've been climbing. And we LOVE it. It's something active, which is kind of our thing, and it's time alone, together, helping each other up this big color-coded wall. 
(insert metaphor for life)

We play as a family.....lots. 
Within the first week Robby and I had met, we went snowboarding together. 
We played together from there on out.
We had FUN. 
We love getting out and having adventures with the kids--even though it's not exactly one on one time, 
it still reminds us of what brought us together in the first place. lots of playing. lots of fun. 

So there you have it. It's a short list, but for now, it's working for us. 
And we are working hard at it. 
Our last "real" date with the usual dinner/movie/lip-gloss-wearing, was in early December, but for now we are filling our weeks with smaller activities, 
and we honestly feel like we are better AND closer because of it. 

I'm curious, what makes your marriage work? 
Do you go on weekly dates? Do you get creative and lock your kids in their rooms too? I'd love to hear it--we are always looking for new ideas to try, especially if they are extra nerdy.

Happy Valentines Day!

if you are looking for an extra special treat to make your extra special someone, here are some valentiney ideas:
our personal family valentine favorite, a giant pizookie


Lindsay said...

Speaking of nerdy, my husband and I have been caring for our new little boy while having a Star Wars and Lord of the Rings marathon. We spend time together and get to cuddle. It's the best.

gram said...

... wishing this cute little nerdy family A Happy Valentine's Day!

kylie said...

ha! i loev this! i'm going on 4 years so i'm still new but we always make sure to have fun together. we put computers iphones and all the distractions away and get outside. nature is our escape. even if its just a stroll in the park nearby or long beach walks, we have to do something outdoors. we love it. and when we're outside we're happy - and when we're together we're happier - so it works out even better! and i imagine when i have kids, i will probably keep doing what i'm doing + children! :) but as for dating, that's probably gonna be a toughy... friends from church to swap sitting perhaps? or go somewhere where the kids can go play.. like the gym. briliant, you two!

whitneyingram said...

We like to put everyone to bed and make a killer delicious dinner for ourselves- candles and all. We do movies and take out a lot. And we also have a neighbor that comes over and sits at our house after everyone is in bed and we go to late night movies.

And for realsies, like I said earlier today, I want to have your two littles over so you guys can go on a lip gloss date. I have been brainstorming fun stuff to do with them and my insane children all day. Talk to Roberto and figure out which night works best.

Nina - Living In said...

Lovely post! I have an idea! Why don't you get one of those super old people ;-) to come and play grandmother for an evening and you can go out on a date? We have gone for almost 4 years without paying a babysitter (our family live far away too) and I finally took the plunge last week. I just thought the idea of some stranger looking after our children would be weird. In the end it worked out perfectly and we now have a lovely sitter to call on anytime we like.

In terms of time together I also think the simple things can be the most enjoyable - my husband and I were stacking up firewood the other day. Two hours of hard slog was heaps of fun with music blasting in our garden and the kids helping out too. It was rather romantic.

Maria said...

this is inspiring. I'm going to take some of your tactics and apply them to my own relationship. it needs a boost.

Brittany said...

i really commend you for working at it, even with no regularly scheduled date nights. whew! my husband and i get to spend one-on-one together once a month, but twice if we're really lucky. it's all thanks to my mom--without her, we wouldn't have anyone. we mostly stay in to be honest: cooking together, playing cards, listening to music, watching movies. if we go out, we like to go away a bit and hit a museum or cute historic town, and just take our time, looking around and holding hands. :)

Sean Carson and NIxon said...

Oh man I hope we weren't the weird ones in a semi old persons basement :) miss you guys! Go on a date in the Bountiful area and we will take the kiddos.

connie said...

You are so right! DATE! It might be a novel idea to some, but it is one of the greatest ideas ever. Spending time together doing things together. The only other great idea I have for a happy DATE YOUR FRIENDS (not that way ;-)). Don't leave them behind, make dates to spend time with your friends--meals, exercising, hobbies, shopping, whatever. Spending (a little) time away from your spouse to nurture your friendships gives you an opportunity to learn new things to come back to discuss with your spouse/significant other, keep things interesting.

Meg said...

We date twice a month...and at least one of those dates is out. It is very important for us to have our children actually see us get dresses up, leave them in the care of someone else (a sitter or a friend that we trade a date night with) while we go out and focus on our marriage, because we love each other, we love our kids, and we want our family to be a happy one.

We also don't do the kids in our bed thing. Our bed is a place for intimacy, and that just isn't going to happen (in the bedroom, anyway) if there are kids in there.
Another thing we try to do is to not wait around for special occasions to do treat each other special. There doesn't need to be any reason other than that we love each other to leave a note, make a special lunch, or pick up something special for each other.

Dates, intimacy, and also just remembering to be intentional with the way we treat each other are the tricks that have served us well for 10 years.

e-orbin said...

I love this post! We are nerds too and we get a kick out of betting (we wager on everything from drafting who we think will win that episode of chopped to betting on who scores the most points in a game). We make the stakes household chores or something nice - like winner gets to pick an ingredient that goes into tomorrow's dinner/dessert.

We have one date night out a month (in a place we've never eaten) which is easy without kids and I cherish it.

We also say something we love about each other every night before bed - which makes it hard to hold onto any anger or other feelings.

we do put effort into keeping the love alive but work feels like such a heavy ladened word (maybe i've just never like any job I've had)

cara lou said...

We need to date more. We too have no family or friends to babysit and so we rarely get out. Maybe a couple times per year. In those rare instances we go to a dinner and a movie. We used to love going to the bookstore after dinner and a movie and just chilling, but #1 there are no bookstores any more and #2 we can't be gone that long.

I sometimes try to arrange dates nights at home after Wm is in bed but those are rare also since John works late nearly every night. And the nights where we DO try to watch a movie and have a treat, John's asleep within 20 minutes. Ha!! Maybe we should try scrabble.

Thanks for the reminder to make it work though -- it's inspired me to try harder to get things on the calendar and to do them, especially important now that a newborn will soon be on premises. :)

Lisa said...

Our dates come at least every other week. We work out together at the gym, but now our daughter wants to participate in that one...How can I say no?

Lula. said...

I've said it before, and I will say it again. Will you PLEASE drop your kids off here sometime so you guys can go out? My kids would LOVE it.

Urban Nester said...

Let's just say.... You are GREAT parents :] Happy Valentines Day and congrats on 10 years!!! That's awesome!

Molly @ Urban Nester

Unknown said...

seriously... this is a wonderful post-looking for many ideas!

we are/were in the same position. just moved close to family-but we were gone for over a year and had to learn how to figure it all out. we are rarely finding ourselves out again since im nursing and its hard to leave while taking my classes online... at night. blah.
so important to find time for one another.. so ill list some of my pg ideas :)
(these are the little things that make us happy)
writing love notes..(or in my husband's case really silly poems)
making a special treat that is my husbands favorite (im sure your wonderful at this!)
saying prayers together
giving an unexpected kiss/hug
cuddling (isnt it crazy how my dog somehow gets to cuddle more with the husband?)
and always speaking kind words!

ashley sullivan said...

love this! i am always trying to think of new, low-key date ideas. we've been doing the gym together lately, which is more fun than it sounds! even if it's just out for frozen yogurt, we'll take it :)

Kalli said...

Whitney is the best. Take her up on that offer stat.

Brooke said...

Sheena, thanks... as ALWAYS... for another wonderful post. I am engaged and my fiance and I are getting married in 2 months. With a lot of unknowns in the (very near) future, it's easy to be a little scared. And question the potential for our happiness in the future. I appreciate your frankness.... Marriage is going to take A LOT of work. But I also appreciate your example and showing that with a lot of work, you can be very happy :) Thanks for the inspiration!

Debbie said...

Ok, so not EVERYBODY in your neighborhood is old. :) We would love to help you have more date nights! Maybe trade??? We have lots of family dates but only get alone date nights about every three months. Usually we wait until the girl goes to bed and then we have a Just Dance competition, play a board game, or watch a movie. Let's plan something!

Leanne said...

Thanks so much for this post. I've really been struggling lately about how to make our ever-shrinking and rare alone time more meaningful, and this was just what I needed. You are inspired. :)

Kimmie said...

I love your sense of humor Sheena...your posts always bring a smile to my face! You are SO awesome!!

YES, weekly date are the bomb, but having little kids, definitely means you have to be creative in finding time for each other, especially when it is challenging to go on a weekly date together.

My hubby and I have a "Notebook" that he leaves me love notes in...a few times a week when I walk in the door, I can usually find the notebook open on the counter with a love note from him telling me sweet things he loves about me or our life.

We will sneak a quick walk around our block while the kids are involved in some activity and we will enjoy a beautiful sunset together as we walk hand in hand and talk about our day. Before we started going on weekly dates, we would wake up and go for a 2-3 mile brisk walk at 5:30 each morning to connect and talk (plus get some exercise as well).

Adding SPARK to our life with romantic dinners at home definitely is a fun way to stay connected after you have put the kids to bed.

There are many days where my hubby has heard a song on the radio and liked it so he purchased it during the day and then comes home and plugs in his iPhone turns it on, takes me in his arms and we dance to it while we're making dinner. The kids LOVE this...there is nothing more wonderful for kids than to see that their parents love each other!

Here is a post I did just today about how everyday of my life is like Valentine's day with all of the little things that make life SO big:

Thought you may enjoy reading it...

You and I have so many things in common, especially our love to PLAY and have fun with our family's and hubbys! Have a wonderful "Nerd Love Day"!!

Kellie said...

Nerd love is true love. We play nerd-games, go outside and explore with the kids, watch movies and shows here and there and every once in a while we get to leave the kids behind while we go on adventures. Happy Valentine's day!

Kaci * Little Piles Everywhere said...

My husband and I both work full time. We meet for lunch at least once a week. We hate to leave them at night too often, b/c they are with the sitter all day. So it's a nice way for us to have a some "date" time without having to leave them again. We do the occasional evening date every six weeks or so when they can stay with our parents for a night. Most of the time we go to bed early and sleep all night uninterrupted. Those are my favorite dates!

Bert and Benton said...

what a great post!
We are very spoiled in this department for a couple reasons. Our kids are in bed at 7:00, leaving us lots of time to spend with each other. We like to watch "our shows" and just sit and talk.

We also have a built-in babysitter (grandma) and so we try to go out 3-4 times a month, even if its just to a friend's house to play a game or watch a movie.

Jacquelyn said...

I love your posts! You are right, marriage is something we need to work at daily and enjoy all the great little things you share exclusively with your spouse. This year marks our 20th Anniversary :) (my second marriage) When the kids were little we'd go on a date night every Friday, but that didn't happen right away as our youngest is autistic and not just anyone could look after him. Now he's very high functioning and 16. Our kids are now 26, 18 and 16 and our Friday night date night is sushi with our kids :) and our daughter's boyfriend. We all look forward to it :)

pakosta said...

My hubby and I have been married almost 13 years (in April it will be 13) and it's so hard with kids to find the time to be alone. we get them to sleep early so we can have some time to talk, but lots of nights that doesn't work out. it's very hard and we need to make more of an effort. thankfully we have a very happy and solid relationship that stands the test of time/situations/life!
congrats on 10 years!

Moonegirl said...

9 years, several kids and very few times alone can make one forget the person I knew for 10 years before this adventure called marriage. We plan on getting out on some of those "dates" people speak of. We really do.
But, for now we do projects together. Out of necessity, sure-but we found we actually enjoy them!. He paints the walls, I do the trim. He loves me for doing the trim because he loaths it. I appreciate his appreciation, and so the fun ensues.
I can say that the one of the most fun things we've ever done was tiling the bathroom. It had to be done when kids were not awake to walk on it. There was "advice giving"(also called arguing) back and forth on the best way to do it. By the end we were laughing and having so much fun doing it. I still smile every time i walk on it. We find moments, when that is all we have. And when we have Grandparents around-we take to the mountains as fast as we can!