Friday, January 18, 2013

A Year of Dates: January

To give you an idea of what the monthly envelopes & card inside looks like, these are for January.  Larry & I opened it up a couple of weeks ago and decided on an evening this weekend when we will go on our first date of the year.

I'm looking forward to it!  Larry's had a really stressful past week and needs a little wining & dining.  Or, ya least dining. We don't do wine around here.  ha ha!  And I can always use a little time with my sweetie.

For our first date night of the year, we're going to Barnes & Noble to browse around and then will go to drive-in burger place to sit in the warm car and chat while we have a burger.  I'm sure we will be sending picture texts of books we'd like to have to each other while we wander around the store.  We're kind of nerdy like that.  But that's just how I like us!

Are you & your sweetie going on a date this month?  What will you do?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Year of Dates

In October of 2012 I saw an idea on a friend's blog for a "Year of Dates".  It was the gift she had given her husband in 2011 for Christmas.  As I read about it, I fell in love with the idea.  I found out that she had gotten the idea from someone else....who had gotten the idea from another lady....who had gotten the idea from another get the idea.  If you google "A Year of Dates" you will likely find lots of ideas on blogs across the web.

The idea is that you create 12 months worth of dates for your spouse (or boyfriend/girlfriend).  I loveeeeee giving creative gifts like this, having to spend the time to create a whole 'experience' for Larry.

In 2002, I did the MOST FUN Valentine's gift ever.  I went to the dollar store & bought a whole gift bag full of little things for the gift.  I wrapped each one up & gave them to a lady who worked in Larry's building on another floor.  She passed the little goodies out to people all through the building with instructions to deliver them to him throughout the day at random times.  There were probably 20-30 gifts, so all day long, in the elevator, at the bathroom door, in his office, passing in the hallway...people were walking up & handing him gifts from me.  By the end of the day, he had a big bag full of things to bring home.  Most of them were little nick-nacks that I knew he'd toss in the trash, but the fun of having him receive things all day long, knowing that I had put the energy into creating this fun day for him, was SO EXCITING!  I loved doing it for him and he had a ball receiving it!  Some of the gifts were:
*a sheet of frog stickers with a label where I wrote "I'd croak without you".
*a pack of minty gum with a label that said "Chew a piece on your way home...I want a BIG KISS when I see you!"
*a piece of candy with a label that said "Something sweet for my sweetie"
....and on & on.  Some of the gifts were silly, some serious, some a little more R-rated (for his eyes only!)

So anyway, you can see I really have fun doing creative, romantic gifts like this!  Back to the Year of Dates!

In October & November, I created the gift.  I got 12 large manilla envelopes & decorated the front of each one & sealed inside it the details of that month's date.  I had a blast getting creative and coming up with 12 dates.  Some will cost a few dollars, some are totally free, and some fall somewhere in between.  Just some examples:

*In January, our date is titled "Bookstore & Burgers".  And it's just that--- a trip to Barnes & Noble to roam around and read (we're nerds...we like this kind of thing) and then a trip to a fast food place to sit & chat while we have a burger.
*One month we will have a spa date at home.  We will create homemade facials from common kitchen ingredients (there are tons of recipes on the internet) and sit in our bathroom to giggle while we put them on each other's faces.  There will definitely be pictures!  ha ha!
*One month we'll have a 'health date' where we go for a Saturday morning walk at a local park before we have a healthy Subway lunch.

Each month, I created a different theme.  Some months are things that will appeal to Larry specifically.  Some months it'll be more of something I want to do.  Some months will be things we both love.  I had to be careful to make sure that I didn't just pick girlie things that he'll have to 'endure' for a year.

I am so excited about this!!  It will force us to be intentional about planning to spend time together.  We talk about having a date night all the time, but like so many people, we get busy & just don't set aside the time to make it happen.  So this year, it will happen at least once a month!

We've already opened the 1st envelope & put our January date on the calendar.

I'm going to document each of our dates here on the blog so if someone googles "Year of Dates" later on, they can get some ideas.  (Well...I will document as much as I can!  Some of the date envelopes include things that I will not be sharing!  Big grin!!  I will make sure that everything I post here is family-friendly in case your child reads over your shoulder like mine often do!)

Date night #1....coming soon!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Blue Screens of Death in Life

The last couple of months have felt like one big mess after another. 

The lay off, the job hunt, the stress level that went through the roof, the holidays, a family cancer scare, then a 2nd one, the possible pregnancy scare (oh yes....we had to throw one of those in there, too).  I've applied for 60+ jobs now and nothing has worked out, so as you can imagine, there are few relaxed moments going on at our house these days.

And then yesterday morning, we got (cue music from Jaws) the Blue Screen of Death on our one and only computer.

As I stared at the screen, I couldn't help but drop my head in my hands & whisper "Really?  NOW?"  In the midst of trying to search for a job (which requires daily job site searches), in the middle of trying to bring in a little extra income through freelance writing (which requires email, google and word processing software), during a season of life where I'm writing an article for the newspaper weekly (which requires email & word processing software), in the midst of watching our bank account like a hawk (which requires internet access) get the idea.

But is there ever really a good time to have your computer totally crash?  Umm, no.

So yesterday morning I did the only things I could think of.

1.  I posted a plea to facebook (I can send a text from my phone to post on FB) asking if any friends had a spare computer we could borrow.
2.  I texted the picture above to 2 computer guru friends & asked for HELP!

Folks, I have go to say something before I go on.  We are blessed beyond measure with amazing friends!!  (God bless the invention of social media.  I am perpetually amazed at how quickly you can post something & get it out to hundreds of people at once in situations like this.)

Within an hour, I had texts from at least 10 people offering to loan us a spare computer.  (Who knew so many people actually have a spare sitting around??)  I had 3-4 people calling to offering suggestions & advice about fixing our computer...recommendations to people who can work on it or ideas about how to fix it ourselves.  (Although I've gotta say it here: I can OPERATE a computer, but I am CLUELESS about how to fix one!)

Our precious youth pastor came to the church on his day off to get us a spare laptop that the church owns.  Thank you, "L"!!  We got it hooked up & running.  I used it to apply to 2 more jobs yesterday afternoon.

Then our dear, sweet, awesome, heroic friend, "M" came over to see what he could do about our pitiful 2005 model desktop that was giving us the BSOD.  It didn't look promising at first, but he figured out a solution.  He switched out our hard drive for one of his.  It has a different operating system (Linux) than we're used to (Windows) so that's a bit of a learning curve, but it's totally functional and we can do all the things we need to do on it.  He took our hard drive home & was able to pull all of our pictures & documents off of it and transfer them to the hard drive that we're borrowing.  And tomorrow he's going to take our hard drive back home to tinker with it.  He thinks he can get it fixed, folks!  Still crossing our fingers on that, but hey...I have hope!  (And of course because he's amazing he won't accept payment but we've got a few tricks up our sleeve so he will be getting something fabulous whether he takes money from us or not!  ::insert maniacal laughter::)

Today, I got an email from a friend who lives halfway across the country, telling me to go to Best Buy & pick something up.  She stated "You're going to need this."  I went to the store & found that she'd purchased us some of the Windows software we're going to need to re-load when we either get our hard drive fixed or when we buy a new computer.  What a COOL gift!!!  Thank you, "A"!  Love you girl!!

I could name all the million reasons the last 6 weeks have been horrible.  Let's just be honest, the last 6 weeks have sucked dirt. But the last 24 hours have been such a sweet reminder that God cares about all the teeny details of our lives---even our computer, even our blue screens of death.  While life has felt like one big blue screen of death for weeks now, I am reminded that my life is & friends love us....people care and really do want to help if they can....and everything always works out in the end, somehow!  (Rom. 8:28)

So while it seems crazy insane to say this, I am thankful for the BSOD that highlighted the awesomeness of our friends and the goodness of our God!!