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Our Date Ideas for the Year

Marriage

Since becoming parents, Dave and I have wholeheartedly embraced the “at-home date,” which I mentioned here (and have another post about coming up closer to Valentine’s Day). Our first real date happened when Charlie was three months old and we were in Texas at my parents’ house. We headed into downtown Houston to see a Degas exhibit at the museum and then have lunch–it was magical and so much fun, but it wasn’t for another two months or so before we went out alone together again. And, once again, we were kind of giddy about it (sorry, Dave, for describing you as giddy on the internet :)). As much as we had come to enjoy our at-home dates, we realized there was something special about getting dressed up and heading out somewhere alone together. It’s not always easy to make space in the budget for activities/food + babysitting, but we have been reassured time and time again that we need it. It’s not a splurge–it’s an investment that breathes life into our marriage, and is anything more worth it than that?

Last summer, we made a list of fun monthly date ideas that we more or less stuck to for the remainder of the year, so I set a goal this month to do the same thing! I had a few requests to share the ideas, so here they are…some of them are specific places or activities we want to try, while others are open-ended. Best of all, they’re all seasonally inspired and cover a variety of price-points.

January: Bowling and pizza (at an actual pizzeria, not takeout)

February: Drinks and desserts at Bittersweet (a cocktails/desserts/coffee lounge in Raleigh)

March: Dave’s birthday date, TBD (high likelihood of an Irish pub)

April: Lisa’s birthday date, TBD (high likelihood of French food and rooftop drinks)

May: Our anniversary date, TBD

June: Outdoor movie

July: Mini golf and Goodberry’s frozen custard

August: Drinks on the patio at Watts and Ward (a Prohibition era-inspired bar in Raleigh)

September: Long weekend trip alone (I’ve never been away from Charlie overnight so may need some pep talks from y’all closer to this!)

October: Daytime date, a hike to admire the changing leaves and trip to a coffee shop

November: Progressive dinner in Durham (there are so many places in Durham I want to try, we figured this would be a good way to check off a few!)

December: Christmas-themed date in Houston, TBD

A few more ideas from 2017 that we enjoyed are an evening baseball game and fireworks, a shooting range and barbecue (guess whose idea that one was!), and drinks and charcuterie outside at Whiskey Kitchen, shown in the photos above.

Friends with kids, how do you make dates happen? Do you have any favorite activities to do together on date nights?

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  1. Tegan Valentine

    January 25th, 2018 at 7:23 am

    Progressive dinner dates are the best! We actually do this all the time – it’s a great way to try out a bunch of new places, and it lets you focus on enjoying the best of each restaurant.

  2. Lisa

    February 5th, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    We have never done it, but I can’t wait! I think it would be so much fun while traveling too :)

  3. Chelsey

    January 25th, 2018 at 8:17 am

    Ah, this is such a good idea! I’m in the Triangle and haven’t heard of Bittersweet, I’m going to have to check it out with my husband! Thanks for the recommendations :)

  4. Lisa

    February 5th, 2018 at 4:14 pm

    I hope you enjoy it! We went over the weekend and had the S’mores Sundae. It was amazing!

  5. Katherine

    January 25th, 2018 at 8:22 am

    I love this idea! My husband and I have a date night in every friday night where we have cheese and wine and then cook dinner together – I love this tradition! But there is something so special about getting out for a date! You inspire me to do come up with a monthly date out!

  6. Tegan Valentine

    January 25th, 2018 at 12:31 pm

    We actually do this as well! You should check out the ‘Date Night In” cookbook! The book is broken down into fun date nights that feature a simple multi-course meal and, typically, a signature cocktail! I grabbed it on sale a little while ago and love it.

  7. Lisa

    February 5th, 2018 at 4:15 pm

    Aww, I love that! We do lots of date nights in but don’t have a standing weekly “date”–I think we may have to borrow that idea! Especially the part about starting it with wine and cheese :)

  8. Abby

    January 25th, 2018 at 10:47 am

    Love this Lisa! So glad you all are doing this. It is a fear of mine that our “freedom” to go out every night on the weekends and sometimes week nights will become obsolete whenever we have children so I always say we are taking advantage of the time we have now! I’m glad you all are making it a priority and realize this is just a season of life!! Add Bar Virgile to your list of places in Durham! It is my and Austin’s favorite restaurant here (cocktails, the burger and fries, mac and cheese and german chocolate cake are some of the best we’ve ever had!) along with our beloved Nana Taco ($1 tacos on friday and saturday from 9-10pm! we hit this up at least once a weekend- can’t beat the price and they are by far our favorite tacos ever!), but Durham has so many great places! Let us know when you come to Durham and maybe we can join you on one of your progressive dinner spots!

  9. Lisa

    February 5th, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    Thank you so much for your Durham suggestions!! I haven’t heard of Bar Virgile and will definitely make note of it :) And a little bit of encouragement: as much as we LOVE date nights and time alone, spending time together as a family of three is absolutely our new favorite way to spend time. It looks different than it used to, but is so incredibly special!

  10. Kasia

    January 25th, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    Good for you! A weekend away does wonders for my husband and me — it will be SO worth it :) And they have tons of fun with grandma, etc!

  11. Lisa

    February 5th, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    Thank you for that encouragement, Kasia!! It’s still a ways away at this point and is kind of hard to wrap my mind around. Hopefully it’ll feel a little easier by September when Charlie is older!

  12. Em

    January 25th, 2018 at 10:34 pm

    I LOVE THIS SO MUCH! John and I have been better in the last 6-8 months about actually going out on dates without June, but we almost exclusively just go to dinner. (Which in general I’m pretty fine with, because we LOVE going out to eat and the novelty hasn’t really worn off yet!) BUT, I’m so inspired by these ideas to mix it up a bit. I think I’m going to add brainstorming a similar list to my February goals :)

  13. Lisa

    February 5th, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    I can’t wait to read your list!!

  14. Kristen M

    January 26th, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    I have found nothing more helpful in my marriage since having our almost 2 year old than date nights (and very much looking forward to a 5 day getaway with my husband after her 2nd birthday!) – it’s important to remember why you got married in the first place and I always remember that our kids are our roommates for (hopefully) 20ish years tops – my husband and I are in it for a lifetime so it’s good to keep that romance and friendship alive so there’s more than just kids we’re connecting over once they move out!

  15. Lisa

    February 5th, 2018 at 4:22 pm

    That is a great reminder! I agree that it’s important to remember that we’re a couple, not just partners in parenting. It’s surprising how easy it is to forget that!

  16. Dana

    January 30th, 2018 at 8:06 pm

    So fun! Ian and I are challenging ourselves to Free Fun February…there’s so many free things going on in Austin, I hope it forces us out of our comfort zone date nights.

  17. Lisa

    February 5th, 2018 at 4:22 pm

    That sounds like fun!!

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