One of the ways Andrew and I help keep our marriage exciting and strong is by dating each other. We are all about carving out ‘us time’ once a week or so to go on dates. If indeed we can get a sitter to watch the kids, we’ll likely do something out and about that revolves around good food and yummy cocktails, preferably on a patio in the open air. If we can’t get a sitter we’ll set up something fun like a game or watch movies by candlelight in the loft with take out. There’s that rush of adrenalin that kicks in when we go on dates, where time slows down and we get the chance to connect without distractions and other kid-related things that normally command all our attention. It’s during our dates that we laugh about the past and dream about the future. It’s where we inspire and encourage one another. It’s during these times that we hold hands like we did back before we were married. Going on dates is nostalgic like that. It also where we get to really savor one another’s company and hit the recharge button. Dating is a simple yet essential component of our marriage.
A few months ago back in the springtime, we though it would be fun to start dating someone other than each other a few nights out of the month. We started dating our babies! Andrew and I thought it would be so special if we started doing fun things one on one with our kids to treat them (and ourselves) to something special apart from what we do as a family of five. It honestly so rare that I get to take Stella out to eat by myself or go adventuring just with the boys, so he and I started brainstorming ideas of things that we could do to reconnect with our little loves and give one another the chance to spend quality time with one or two of the kids by ourselves.
If I’ve learned anything as a parent, it’s that time is precious. And just like everyone tells you, it all goes by insanely fast. I feel like we *just* brought Theodore home from the hospital, yet here we are with Alfie over one year old and climbing on the top of our dining room table. How does this happen? I think it all the time. So to slow things down a bit we’ll pick a night that we don’t have much going on to take the kids on a date. Sometimes this falls on the weekend, where we’ll do something during the day of a few hours, but the point is to split up our routine dynamic of five by spending time one on one (or one on two) doing something fun together. A few Sunday’s ago I took Stella out to eat and she ordered whatever she wanted on the menu. She got a bit bowl of muscles and cherry lemonade and we talked about what she could be for Halloween. It was so beautiful to spend time with her like that.
Andrew and I have a list going on the side of the fridge that I am going to write out here for some kiddo date inspiration for you, but before I get to that I want to share a bit about another really fun mama/son date I recently took with the boys, an adventure that Theo now requests just about every day…a neighborhood bike ride! Biking with kids is really so much fun. It’s a great way to see the neighborhood while also getting to do something outdoors which everyone appreciates. This past summer Alfie was finally old enough to wear a helmet (only the sweetest thing ever!) and accompany us on family bike rides. We got two types of carriers for the back of each of our bikes so we can all go as a family when we want take an weekend afternoon or early evening ride. We live near a grand trail and ever since the weather has been warmer we’ve been riding outside just about every week either all together or just one of us with the kids in back.
Rather recently a bike company called Blix reached out and wanted to know if our family would be interested in trying one of their electric bikes. I had heard about them but never had actually rode one. Because we already love biking I was super intrigued and decided to try it out. Y’all, it’s a blast and honestly one of the coolest things we’ve ever done with the kids! Have you tried an electric bike before? We love it so much that we are thinking about selling Andrew’s bike and getting him one too because we are able to ride so much further with the kids in tow this way. I think there is definitely a time and place for traditional bike riding, and I will forever love my beach cruiser, but having the option of riding this with the kids has changed our whole biking game.
Theodore and I rode to the flower shop the other day and got some seeds for our garden. We were able to make the big hills in our neighborhood and even make a stop to pick up lunch on the way back home. You do have to pedal (it’s not entirely like a motorized scooter) so you still get that feel of riding a bike but with added help of power when you need it. Stella and Theo always ask if they can join when we take it for little errands around town, like to the farmer’s market or to get a coffee a few blocks away. I am so grateful that Blix reached out and introduced this to our family because now I can share it with you! And onto to dating your kids, here is a list of some age appropriate ideas Andrew and I have come up with, bike rides topping it off:
- Bike rides around the neighborhood or to somewhere fun like the garden center
- Picnic at a new park
- Pick out treasure at thrift store
- Nature scavenger hunt
- Walk around the gardens at the Nelson Museum (or any museum)
- Go to a movie
- Indoor aquarium on a rainy day
- Pick out books at the library
- Ice cream treat
- Trip to the zoo
- River market for fresh produce and walk along the river
- Bake a cake together or something sweet
- Visit to the fire station (Theo’s dream)
- Bookstore trip, each pick out a new book
- Market shopping downtown
- Hiking or a nature walk
- Seasonal fun, like going to the pool or to a pumpkin patch or ice skating
- See a play at the kid’s theatre or show at Starlight
- Go to a soccer match (we love Sporting KC)
- Make a craft together
- Feed the ducks at the park
- Let them pick a restaurant for a supper date
- Paint pottery
- Kick the soccer ball around at the park
- Breakfast on the weekends
Do you guys date your kids? Do you have other ideas you feel like sharing? We currently don’t have a rhythm in place with when or how we go on dates, but we aim to do something special with each one of our kids at least a couple times a month. This giving our babies cherished one on one time, which is incredibly important for all of us. And just like when Andrew and I go on dates, it completely recharges our batteries and helps us build a stronger connection with one another.
I want to thank Blix for giving our family one of their electric bikes to try! We have been having a blast with it and are grateful to have one more fun outdoor activity to do with the kids. And thank you dear reader for supporting the brands that help support Homesong and make this space possible.