Date Nights

“Date nights are so important.  In fact, they are critical,” psychologist and relationship expert Melanie Schilling told The Huffington Post Australia last year.

How important are they to YOU? 

When my husband and I first became parents, I think we were so enamored with our little bundle of joy, that the thought of leaving him, of missing out on one his firsts and the many, many milestones that seem to flow like never ending debris upon the river’s currents, was just too unbearable.   We would squeeze in little hours of one on one time when we had the energy and frankly when we were bored with Davey’s non-productive days.  Let’s face it, Angelina Jolie said it best when referring to her first biological child as a blob with little personality during the child’s newborn days. 

When our second child came along, we were desperate to get back to who we were.   I suppose the “newness” of having a child had already lost its luster.   We didn’t hyperventilate with each blink of Henry’s eye, or post fastidiously upon social media about how well he burped, as we had so embarrassingly done with Davey.  I know, I know, poor Henry.   That second child just always seem to get the burn.  

As our children have gotten older, Davey is almost 6 and Henry is 3 & ½, my husband and I find we need that break from our children, to reclaim a part of ourselves.   We find that it’s worth the money to spring for an occasional babysitter and to dress up for a night out on the town, a night that now seems to end at 10.  My husband jokingly asks me if I recall the times when we were going out at 10.  I tell him “no”, as his children have seared those memories from my brain.   That’s right!  I said “his children”.

I have this conversation, about date nights, with so many of my fellow parenting friends.   I’ve found that the discussions are usually pretty split between those who think it’s important and those who feel that the children and family unit as a whole should be a top priority.  Of course, I encounter the occasional judgmental prone mother who tells me I’m selfish for wanting something more.   I’ve learned to not let those criticisms get to my inner heart and guilt me into a subversion, and I will tell all of you the same thing.   You’re no good to children, if you’re not good to yourself, and that includes the relationship with your partner.

I’ve noticed that our country doesn’t place as much emphasis on the parent’s one on one intimacy as others do.   According to the March 14, 2014 issue of The Guardian: 

Couples therapists would say parents like us should work harder to balance our priorities in order to preserve the family unit. It’s even on the political agenda in some countries; well, Scandinavia anyway. Last October, the government in Oslo issued a plea to parents in Norway to embrace “date nights” more frequently in response to rising divorce rates – now 40%, with those aged 40 to 44 most vulnerable to separation.

Therapists agree that it is important for parents to still have that time for each other, to find a way to rekindle the romance they once created or to just keep the spark going.   That’s great and all in theory, but when you’re on a budget, date night isn’t always that easy.   That same article in the Guardian said this:

Linda Blair, a clinical psychologist and author of The Key to Calm, says one couple she worked with could just about afford a babysitter but nothing more. “They found an alternative – driving around in their car for a few hours each week. It really improved their relationship.”  https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/mar/14/parents-should-embrace-date-nights

 

That sounds about like my household.   My husband and I find ways to take advantage of freebies where we can.   If the grandparents offer to take care of the children, we pounce on the opportunity and may walk around downtown for an ice cream.   Our local YMCA offers a Parent’s Night Out every 2nd Friday of each month.   Included with our monthly membership is one Friday night, 4 hours, from 6-10 of nothing but me and my husband.  

Since the date nights are few and far between for us, I’ve required us to capitalize on the time together.   We’ve set up ground rules:   no talking about the children, no discussion of work, and no conversing about outside family members.  

Friday before last we had a Parent’s Night Out.  My husband, understanding my need as a stay at home mom with very little talk of anything not Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle or Magic Treehouse Books, read up on current events.   I steal the occasional time to get caught up while waiting in car line, getting a few moments alone in the bathroom, or via podcasts as I’m cleaning.   We put away our phones and any other electronic device and find a way to focus on ourselves, learning about each other again, remembering the little nuances that made us first fall in love, and just talking!  It’s important.

After all:

“Sustaining intimacy is probably the most challenging task a human being has in his or her lifetime,” says Jared Scherz, a clinical psychologist who specializes in couples.  http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/married-children-date-night-article-1.1833789

What about all of you?   How important is date night for you and your partner?  How often do you get that much needed, well-deserved, and long often overdue time together?   Have some ideas you want to share, i.e. where you go, what you do on a budget, or any rules you have (like mine of current events discussions), then comment below.  

Happy date night to all of you and try to remember what first made you fall in love with your partner!

Davey Doser At the Bat

The sun was baking, the bugs were flying, and the breeze was all but existent.  We knew it would be tough, we knew it would be long, but we hoped he would make it through, with the resilience of the Doser he is.

Being in the heat for an adult can be brutal, but playing tee ball as a 4 year old, takes exhaustion as well as stamina to whole new levels.

Saturday was our first tee ball game of the season, and it was a double header at that, on quite literally the hottest day of the year.   Should I have been surprised, nearly 41 years old and a lifetime living in the South?   I wasn’t.   As a matter of fact, I thought back to my grueling summer days of band camp, and knew that if I could survive eight hours of that torture, then my flesh and blood, my first born, would be able to survive 2 hours of tee ball.

As the kids slowly trickled in, their parents in tow with chairs, sunscreen, bug spray, cameras, and coolers of drinks (wait maybe that was just me), a little pre game practice began.   Just as the game was to start, the water seemed to break, or maybe the kids were just looking for an excuse to avoid the inevitable game, and the entire team trekked inside to the bathroom.   Quite the crew they were, and more entertaining for me was seeing my husband as the leader of the group.

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Davey Doser at bat.

Bathroom breaks were over, all teammates were present, and it was time to start some tee ball.   As my husband gathered around the teams, he quickly reminded me of one of the many reasons I love him so.   Removing his cap, and encouraging the kids to do the same, he went down on bended knee, head lowered and thanked our Lord for the day, the children, and the opportunity to play.  And then with an “Amen” he stood up and proclaimed, “let’s play ball.”

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Coach Doser praying before the game.

So, the thing with tee ball and 4 &5 year olds is that they don’t have much patience for being in the outfield.   Waiting on a ball to come their way is excruciating.   It’s akin to waiting for that boy or girl who you really have the hots for, to call you.   You wait and wait and wait.   You hope and pray for that ball to come your way, and much like when the phone rings, when that elusive ball is hit, you immediately jump and run for it.   All of the kids run, not just the one who it was hit towards.   I watched in amusement as the first ball was hit towards first base and the poor kid in left field nearly ran over all his teammates just to get the ball.   They reminded of the seagulls from Finding Nemo, with their shouts of “mine, mine, mine” as they scrambled to be the one to get the ball.

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Davey caught the ball!

When they’re at bat, it’s a whole other world.   Their excitement is intoxicating.  Their eagerness to hit the ball as hard as possible and as far as possible inspires even the laziest of us to want to do more.   Davey looks like such a big boy until he puts on a batting helmet, and then he’s immediately reduced back to my little baby boy, but he chokes up on the bat, offers himself as a switch hitter (yes he hits left and right), steps into the swing and hits the ball.   At times it’s a foul, but he still makes contact.

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Running home!

Tee ball is exciting for me, more so than soccer, maybe not as much as football, but we haven’t gotten there yet.   Tee ball represents America.  It’s the beginning stages of baseball, America’s pastime, and reminds me of all things warm and like home.   I love that Davey wanted to take it back up again this season.   I love that he’s learning to hit a ball that’s thrown at him.  I love that he gets into his catcher’s stance and has even asked for a big wad of gum to chew.

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Throwing to the cut off man.

For the next six weeks, our lives will be inundated with hot summer nights on the baseball field, steamy Saturday mornings at the same place, an overabundance of Gatorade, batting practice, catching stances, and we might even throw in some hotdogs and ice cream.   When my little Davey Doser is at the bat or in the field, this mama, as always, is his biggest fan.

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Celebrating another catch.

With his daddy as coach, he seems to have taken to the game a bit more, or maybe it’s just because he’s a year older with a bit more focus.  Who knows!

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Getting a high five from Daddy, er Coach Doser.

Hey batter, batter, batter!

A Change Will Do You Good.

I have a mixed relationship with change.  I’m always eager to have it, to break up what I feel has become the monotony of day to day life.   I dream about it, allow it to seep into every spare crevice of my brain.   I allow it to take control of my life, to affect me in ways that it shouldn’t.   Change is a good thing.   I’m a firm believer in that, it’s just the process of going through the change that wears on me.

My husband and I are very blessed.  We are fortunate for everything the Lord has given us.   We do our best to continuously thank Him for those blessings and not take them for granted.  Some days I feel that I should just be happy with what we have and not look for more, but I’m human.

For the past year or so, my husband and I have embarked on the adventure of looking for land with a potential new home site.  Over the years, we’ve both decided suburban life isn’t for us.  We have wonderful neighbors, but our neighborhood has grown and truthfully we feel almost suffocated.   The idea of land would give us the opportunity to explore with our boys in the comfort of our own backyard.  It would give my husband the opportunity to hunt in our own backyard, and it would give us the ability to do what we want with our property without seeking approval from our neighbors first.

Recently, the opportunity has presented itself for us to possibly purchase a significant amount of land along with a house already on the property.  The house is older than ours, as we custom built ours 8 years ago, but the place is beautiful with a lot of potential.  Unfortunately, there are some downsides.

It is more land, so there is more work.   There wouldn’t be a fence, so what would we do with our dog?   There are some changes and renovations to be done to the house, something I’m eagerly looking forward to should we get the house, but again it’s work.   My husband and I managed to get our current house the way we wanted it BEFORE having kids, thereby granting us the ability to really just do maintenance and spend time with our boys.   We wouldn’t be able to do that as much if we get this new house.

There’s also the moving.  I would have to pack up our ENTIRE house amidst the chaos of two boys.   I would uproot them from their home base and move them almost 45 minutes away.   On the plus side, moving would give me the opportunity to really declutter and clean out.  We would still be close to my family, but there wouldn’t be daily visits to the Y, there wouldn’t be a neighborhood pool during the summer, there wouldn’t be easy access to a biking trail.   A lot of things would change and it makes me sad, but the possibilities for our new adventures also excite me.

My husband and I aren’t new at house hunting.   We’ve done it before, but this time we have to take in so many other factors.   I find myself researching schools in my spare time, looking at FBI crime statistics for what could be our new area, trying to explore what could be our new surroundings.   I want to get it pinpointed where our closest grocery store would be, and fast food joint.   And all of this could be for naught if we can’t sell our house and get this one.   My sleepless nights of worry and excitement could be nothing more than a colossal waste of my time.

I’ll still plug forward, working towards the common goal of possibly purchasing this house with the land.   If it doesn’t work out, then something else may come along.  I just have to continue to reconcile myself with the fact that change is inevitable and it’s what you make out of it that really impacts your life.

Now, I must go and pray for guidance.  Sometimes I just really wish the Lord would tell me “yay” or “nay” when I attempt life altering changes.   It would make life easier.

He is The New Clint Dempsey

Last night marked Davey’s first foray into a team sport. He’s not three for another month and technically he’s not supposed to play until his three, but being the aggressive, fighting mother that I am, I fought to get him into the fall soccer league at the Y.

Yesterday started out much like any other day. We ate breakfast, got dressed, and went to the Y for my morning workout. When we pulled into the parking lot, the employees were busy setting up the toddler nets and spraying painting the freshly mowed fields. Davey’s comment, “they’re getting it ready for meeee.” And yes, he did draw out that “me”. Adorable, I know!

Warm Up

After leaving the Y, nothing more was said about soccer. I suppose it was just another thing that flitted out of his mind as he moved onto something else. Me? Not the case. I was excited all day. I practically couldn’t even eat as I watched the clock tick down and I ran through the check list of things I would need to bring. With each passing hour, this thought came into my head, “I’m a soccer mom.” How exciting!

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I’ve looked forward to a day like this for quite some time. I’ve dreamed about the activities Davey would participate in when he got older, whether that be sports, academics, music, or whatever his heart desires. I’ve become lost in thought about how I would (and will) shuffle him through to all of his activities. I haven’t stressed about it, but instead I’ve longed for it. I’m not sure why.

As the hour of his first practice arrived, I put him in his soccer gear, and watched as he ran around the front yard in his cleats proclaiming to me, “mommy, I’m going to be the fastest.” Way to set a goal, my son! I’m proud of you. When my husband pulled into the driveway, the boys and I were already loaded into the truck and ready to go. Was I nervous? For the first time, YES!

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I panicked for a few minutes about how well he would fit in with the other kids. I worried that he wouldn’t pay attention to his coach, or that he would want to sit with me, or that he would become too aggressive. All of my worries were completely unfounded. Not only is my boy a natural athlete (something he gets from his father, not me), but he’s also a true team player.

He scored three goals. The coach commented on his strong leg and how well he runs (dribbles) the ball. Atta boy, Davey! He stretched with the kids, cheered his teammates on when they scored, and even refused to shove a little girl back when she shoved him. I’m a little torn on that as I don’t want him to just stand by idly while other kids beat up on him, but I am proud that something is seeping through with my teachings in that we don’t hit or shove others.

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All in all, last night was a huge success. I’m pleased with Davey and how well he did for an hour. And as a side note…I fought for my baby to get into the fall season and his attention span is better than some of the other three and four year olds and HE’S THE BIGGEST ON HIS TEAM. I shouldn’t be so shocked about that, but I am considering the fact that he’s surrounded by kids a year older than him (some almost 2), and he’s so tall.

Time will tell just how well he’ll do, so until next week we’ll just bask in the glory of the huge accomplishment from last night.

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Twinkle Toes Doser

We’ve all had a desire to pursue some other path in life. Mine has always been to be in a musical, but only as an extra who dances just because my singing is cringe worthy. It’s almost like running your fingernails down a chalkboard. It’s bad, but I always thought it would be really neat to be a dancer in a musical. They’re always so elegant and sexy and classy and entertaining AND you can burn some serious calories (dancers always have some of the best bodies). Well, today I quickly found out that any dream I ever had of being an extra on Broadway or the next making of “Footloose” or “Grease”, has been snuffed out.

In my effort to lose 10 more pounds before the summer, I’ve decided to take some classes at the Y. Today offered up Zumba and it was my first official experience in this foray of exercise. At first, I thought how wonderful this would be. I could fulfill that life long dancing dream. How hard could it be? I mean I’ve been dancing my entire life and right now both of my boys seem to really be digging on my Mommy Moves and Grooves, which has me concerned about their eyes. How could they possibly enjoy what they are seeing especially if it’s anything like what I experienced for an hour this morning?!?!?

For those of you living in a hole for the past decade or so, Zumba is a dance exercise that combines mostly Latin dance moves with some low and high impact cardio workouts. There’s a lot of the samba, the shuffle, the hips twisting and shaking, and even a few spins and a cha-cha or two thrown in for good measure. There’s not much of a break between the songs as you jump right in from dance to dance and move to move.

First off, my hips don’t lie, but unlike Shakira, my hips have been telling me for quite so time that I have to rhythm. I suppose I’ve been living in a box for a while because I always thought I gyrated my hips quite well when the beat kicked up, but then again I’m never standing in front of a mirror the entire time either. I literally wanted to slap myself for doing this in public.

Second, I’m a stiff! Not like a Divergent Stiff, but a stiff when it comes to dancing. I lack grace and a lot of it. Picture a taller version of the “Elaine” from Seinfeld, but throw in a couple of trips when I should have been sashaying. I’m a disgrace! I’m worse than Billy Dee Williams on Dancing with the Stars! I can’t believe I ever danced in public (of course at that point I’d had some liquid courage so I was oblivious to how awesome I danced).

I don’t know what was more exhausting, though. Literally trying to keep up with the instructor or mentally trying to figure out how to raise my arms and shuffle my feet at the same time. I’ll do it again, if for no other reason than the facts that it’s a good calorie burner and I’m sure to provide comic relief to the class. On the plus side, I now have yet another way to embarrass my boys in public. Dun Dun Dun!

But it’s pretty safe to say that I will NEVER be a dancer which really saddens me. I’d always kept that in my back pocket. 🙂