Just Heather

When we first started planning our alphabet dating ideas, L was one of the first things we decided on—laser tag. But, when the time came and the opportunity to go to Chicago came up, it didn’t take much to get me to change my mind. There’s always T…

And, I love Chicago.

I also love the hubby, despite his oddities. Or, maybe because of them. I don’t know. Anyway, that kind of became the theme of the weekend—Love Me Anyway. I drug him along to a blogging conference, introduced him to strangers and forced him to be—gasp!—social. He made me sit through a 5 hour geek-a-thon.

Okay, so Paul and Storm were heavily featured, but it was called W00tstock and included serious geekery I didn’t understand in the slightest. I just keep telling him I’m not a real geek. I only speak it, on occasion. But, I did enjoy my weekend.

It’s nice to take a peek at what he’s into now & then. I worried it would reinforce our differences, but we were pretty relaxed about it and just let one another be. That’s truly been our saving grace all along.

He’s always been fabulous about letting me be who I am and do what I need to figure it all out. I need a way to unwind after a long day? He’ll handle a load of laundry while I take a bubble bath. I need to vent with a girlfriend? He’ll put the kids in bed while I have a cosmo with MFJ.

I don’t always get him. I don’t always agree with him. I don’t always want to do the things he does. But, I do always love him and recognize that it’s important to him do these things anyway—with or without me.

We just need to find more ways to be who we are together.

Thirteen years ago today, I said, “I do.” Earlier this year, I did it again. Each wedding meant something big to me, but anniversaries? I’m not really the type.

I’m not the girl who remembers the day of our first kiss. I couldn’t tell you the night of our first date. I can’t recall the date he proposed. What I remember are the feelings—the giddy, butterflies-in-your-stomach, never going to forget this moment feelings.

The dates are fleeting in my memory, but, the wedding date? Well, I wrote it down. And, so we celebrate year after year—it’s nice to mark the time and know we’re still making it. He’s still the one. We’re beating the odds. And, we’d do it all over again.

Usually, though, we celebrate on a weekend surrounding our wedding. This year, we’re booked until October. So, when I realized how much free time I was going to have now that Lorelai is in preschool, I suggested a morning date after dropping the girls at school.

I thought we could turn it in to our Letter M alphabet date, originally slated to be an afternoon at museums, but with 3 kids we’re nothing, if not flexible. I pictured a leisurely morning in bed, content just to snuggle in the peace & quiet, a walk through our small town & an early lunch at a quiet cafe before preschool pickup.

He pictured something else entirely. I think the biggest problem, there, is I didn’t let him know what I had in mind. So, when he rushed me to get ready, brushed past me without commentary on the care I took to get ready and told me we had to hurry so he could get to work, he didn’t understand why I was upset.

We parked in front of a local diner and tried to talk it out, but a whole mess of other stuff managed to come up. I’m sure to passersby, we just looked like we were waiting for something. And, I think we usually are. We’re waiting for life to get easier. Waiting for the other shoe to drop. Waiting for our thoughts & goals to just mesh.

Without a lot of thought or conversation about how we’re going to make that happen. So, our morning date was canceled in favor of talking. And tears. And more talking. We’ve still got a mess of stuff to figure out, but who doesn’t? We’ll just have to keep talking and figure it out.

Because we’ve still got half the alphabet to get through. Not to mention the rest of our lives. And, I’ll marry him again if I have to. Next time, I want the princess gown & a castle. Not that I’ve put a lot of thought into it or anything.

When we began planning our alphabet dating journey, I knew there would be a few letters that tripped us up. We certainly weren’t planning to learn how to quilt together nor will we be playing a xylophone. Then it hit me—Q is for Queen for a Day! Of course, that means I had to give up letter K.

We’re still figuring out letter X, but we’ve still got awhile.

A couple weeks go, we planned for a sitter & I let the hubby know it was time for him to plan our next date. I’m not sure you could call it “planned” but it seemed like he got a chance to take me to a few places I wouldn’t ordinarily go. First, his royal majesty wanted a smoothie (a la iCarly, of course) so we drove around for a bit looking for something Yelp assured us existed but that turned out to be closed.

We wandered around the Carmel Arts & Design District—which, by the way, boasts the World’s Smallest Children’s Art Museum (as verified by the Guinness Book of World Records). The museum was closed, but I can attest to the fact that it is tiny! We wandered up the street a bit to the Sweets Shoppe, just to check out the candy store our oldest frequents with her friends. I got chocolate, naturally, and he was able order his smoothie.

He has decided he doesn’t actually like smoothies.

For dinner, he decided on Mexican—so not my favorite but I do enjoy margaritas. They had a gorgeous one on special. As it was the largest margarita I’d ever been served, I barely finished half of it. At this point, Spencer decided he was going to teach me to play Go. Except, he left his board at home so we ran home to pick it up. On the way to the coffee shop, we somehow ended up at Netheads instead.

We had a Groupon that provided a pretty good deal anyway so he decided we should play. Well, more accurately, he played—I watched. We did play a couple rounds of Scene It on the X-Box but with the various mishaps throughout, I’m not sure we were able to declare a champion! (That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.)

This was clearly his day, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy myself. Spending time doing the things he loves is something I should probably do a lot more of. I used to—when you’re young & newly in love there’s just something about hanging on his arm while he plays video games or snuggling next to him to watch a movie you’d never pick. As the years go by, though, and time alone or together is few & far between, we’ve tried to choose things we could both enjoy.

Which means, I don’t scrapbook. He doesn’t play video games. I don’t watch chick flicks. He misses scary movies. I read a little less (even if it is still a lot). He plays less guitar. There’s less me and more we—on both sides—and that’s not always a good thing. If I lose myself, what’s left for him to love? Our 40×40 lists are helping, but we need to have the chance to share our separate interests together again.

Alphabet Dating to the rescue again—it’s been a journey of discovery & learning as well as reconnection, all along.

Today is my grandmother’s 80th birthday. For her party last week, we were each asked to write something to her. It was all collected in a scrapbook, and I had a bit of a tough time with it. You see, I took the time several years ago to write each of my grandparents a letter. I don’t really remember what I wrote, and my mother refused to break in to her house and peek. Instead, I went with compiling a few of my favorite lessons from Nana:

  1. Noodles taste better when they’re homemade with love.
  2. Every little girl needs a new dress for Easter.
  3. You can never have too much food or too many guests at the table.
  4. Preserving produce for the winter is a team effort.
  5. The candy jar should always be full.
  6. Cross-stitching keeps your hands busy, but crosswords keep your mind sharp.
  7. Babies are always a blessing.
  8. It doesn’t matter what day you celebrate a holiday, as long as you’re with family.
  9. If the basement is flooded, move the party upstairs.
  10. Being part of a couple doesn’t have to mean losing yourself.

Happy birthday, Nana! I love you.

On the day of our vow renewal, I got a call from my cousin, asking if I had cold feet. I was happy to have someone playing along with our whole 2nd wedding thing and even more thrilled it happened to be her. We had forgotten to plan past the ceremony to our evening in Vegas, and Allison had recently lived there. I knew she’d have great suggestions for dinner, and she did not disappoint!

J is for Just Married (Again), and I fully intended to enjoy a night of having the hubby all dressed up. Our limo returned us to the hotel, where we dropped off our wedding DVD and the kitschy bride & groom champagne flutes I’d purchased. From there, we walked the Vegas strip in our fancy clothes, headed towards Smith & Wolensky’s for our dinner reservation, as recommended.

Along the way, we had a planned stop at the Bellagio. I could think of nothing more romantic than watching the fountains with my “new” hubby.

We got a lot of comments about our hats as we walked—I just knew they were made for Vegas! It was our first time on the strip, and I’m so glad we were dressed for the occasion. You really see a little of everything in Las Vegas, but I loved the feeling of being well dressed while we were out & about among the lights. We arrived at dinner a few minutes early, and took some time to wander into a sports shop. They had collector’s items, photos and autographed merchandise. My favorite part? Seeing Colts stuff at 4 times the price we’d pay here in Indy.

Dinner was Fab.U.Lous. For real. I had, as per usual, steak & baked potato. The hubby had some sort of disgusting seafood platter, but he seemed pleased. I also ordered a Cosmo—it might be my favorite cocktail EVER. I’ve discovered Absolut vodka is not gluten free, though, so I have to be careful when ordering them out. Our server assured us they had a few potato vodkas to choose from and proceeded to bring me the greatest Cosmo I have ever tasted.

When he stopped by to see how I was enjoying it, I asked for the name of the Vodka. He couldn’t remember and offered to go check. I told him he could check on it while he fetched me another one—yum! The 2nd Cosmo was my last drink of the evening, but I will definitely be buying Glacier sometime soon. Um, not too soon, though. MFJ and I are currently in the middle of a drink-from-your-pantry challenge since we had gotten into the habit of buying whatever we wanted every girls’ night.

But this is a story about our wedding night. Er, most of it. It truly was a magical day, and I’m so glad we decided to renew our vows. It was important to celebrate the progress we’ve made and the steps we’re taking to be a stronger couple.

2010-01-062Okay, so I guess that should say “our” wedding vows, but when I first put it on the list, we weren’t much of a “we” and still a long way from ready to recommit for life. It’s been a long, hard road but it’s finally paying off. Things are going well; we’re happier than we’ve been in…well, maybe ever.

With our trip to Vegas planned, we decided to combine my #35 with his #36. He wanted to get married by Elvis, and it sounded fun to me. The location and theme were kitschy, but the sentiment and vows were totally serious. I started to teared up during his, and the tears threatened all the way through my own.

Truly, the location and theme were completely made of awesome! We had an absolute blast with the whole thing. Elvis was a lot of fun, the green room featured a picture of Batman & Wonder Woman’s wedding and I got to wear a fancy dress with seriously kick ass shoes. We treated it like a real & actual wedding, which made for even more fun when the 2nd spouse jokes started.

The coolest part of the entire process? It was live broadcast for all the internets to see! For even more hilarity, our friend Brad recorded it and posted it to YouTube before we had even finished our dinner. The webcast was, expectantly, poor quality but the hubby has since uploaded our original copy:

He said:

At 5AM all those years ago, when I first asked you asked you to marry me, I couldn’t have imagined everything we’ve gone through. We’ve not always taken the easiest path and I often don’t know where we’re headed. But I know wherever we end up, I’ll be glad that I’m with you.

Thirteen years ago, I didn’t want to wait to spend the rest of my life with you. I’m proud of you, of us, and of everything we’ve done together.

I love you, and I still want to spend the rest of my life with you.

She said:

I love you—that much has never changed. As we planned this day, I thought it would be about starting over. We’ve struggled a lot over the years and I was sure a new beginning would help us reconnect. Now that we are reconnecting on our own, I don’t want a new beginning.

I want it all—the beginning, the middle and straight through forever. All of it is a part of who we are and the unit we’ve become. It isn’t the intertwined unit I always imagined but I like the path we’ve found a lot better. We walk side by side as two individuals, committed to actively loving the other.

Thank you for giving me the freedom to learn who I am and your unconditional love as you get to know me over and over again. Now, I recommit myself to knowing and loving you. In front of God, Elvis and the Internets, I promise to support your passions, encourage your dreams and walk beside you until the end of our days.





Downtown Indy LightsThe hubby and I really enjoyed exploring downtown Indianapolis for our D-date. We had such a great time and didn’t make it to everything we had wanted to include, even though we spent 8 hours downtown! It was decided, then and there, that I would be for Indianapolis. I was especially thrilled that I would fall in December because I wanted to take a horse-drawn carriage ride with jingle bells & hot cocoa.

Weber GrillWith Christmas on the horizon (not to mention a celebration the very next morning for which we had not finished shopping!), we decided to hit Circle Center Mall. I had been a few, quick times but never had the chance to explore. The hubby had never been to anything but a restroom. It was fun to wander around, shopping together. I don’t know why we don’t do that more often. (Oh, right. Three kids.) With Christmas shopping finished and packages stowed in the car, we moved onto dinner.

Mai-Tai & Twisty StrawThere are a large number of downtown restaurants we have always wanted to try “someday” so we definitely had options. Weber Grill was our final selection, and it was fab.u.lous. Their homemade barbecue sauce is incredibly tasty. I couldn’t decide between chicken & sausage so I ordered the combo. It came with a side of barbecue baked beans—so yummy! I also ordered a beautiful—and completely delicious—Mai-Tai. I think my favorite part of the entire meal may have been the uber-twisty straw that came with it!

ClydesdaleWe walked off dinner with a journey to the circle. I’ve seen all the holiday lights in passing over the years, but this was the first time we had taken the time to experience them up close and personal. The toy soldiers around the Soldiers & Sailors Monument? Yeah, they’re soldiers and sailors! As expected, the carriages were decked out in jingle bells & holly. We rode in a carriage pulled by a gorgeous Clydesdale named Levi. The lights of the city were beautiful as we snuggled together with our hot cocoa from South Bend Chocolate Cafe.

I is for IndianapolisWhen our ride ended, so did our fairy tale evening. Back to reality for these parents, but we (once again) didn’t get the chance to visit everything we wanted. We’ll be back for our M-date to visit museums and more downtown eats. The alphabet dating project is definitely a success already—I can’t wait to blog last week’s date, as we renewed our commitment to one another.

J is for Just Married!

The hubby and I had decided on Howl at the Moon for our next alphabet date experience. He loves music, I love cocktails—clearly we are a match made in heaven. Of course, in an effort to date inexpensively, I tracked down a coupon for the piano bar. Oh, how I love Facebook coupons! For dinner, we decided to stick with the H theme and hit Big Hoffa’s.

It’s a barbecue joint right here in Westfield. We had never been before, but it came highly recommended by a friend. With a name like Big Hoffa’s, I think we were both expecting a Texas theme. Instead, we walked into a pirate’s paradise! Apparently, barbecue has roots in the Caribbean. Who knew?! The hubby enjoyed their sweet tea, and I enjoyed the decor. I kind of have a thing for pirates. We moved on to Howl at the Moon in downtown Indy. There was a bit of a wait to get in, but it wasn’t cold and we didn’t mind chatting.

It turns out, that was the last chance we’d get for the evening. The piano bar was a lot of fun, but not really conducive to a dating experience. We couldn’t hear one another at all. Of course, that meant we had to get pretty close, and that’s never a bad thing. With the free admission and drink coupons I’d scored, we were set. We (and by we, I mean I) enjoyed a couple free rum runners while we listened to the music. There was way more than just a couple pianos—we ended up being front & center for a violin solo. Very cool!

We both enjoyed the experience itself, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a date night. It didn’t allow us the opportunity to interact much at all. For a birthday party, bachelorette party or something more group oriented? It would be a blast!