Creative

An Ode to my Dad

I wrote this for my dad for fathers day, and although I'm quite late posting it on the blog, I promise he got it on time. :)

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To the dad who was always there for me while growing up. 

Listening to my little girl chatter while he fixed up the family cars on his Saturday's off. 

Who waved back as I energetically expressed my own goodbye to him from the front door as he headed off to work. 

Holding my hand as we walked back to our car after watching a fun movie in a fun location. 

Playing favorite songs from the TV speakers in the morning on weekends and filling our home with melodies and lyrics that we all loved together. 

Working hard and never taking the easy way out, despite major stresses, lack of sleep and a constant stream of obligation and responsibilities. 

Rushing, after a long day of work, to be there at all of my many choir and piano performances and other important church or school events, always looking back at me from the audience and, afterwards, expressing how proud he was of my hard work and bravery. 

Trying again and again to win the favor of the moody teenage girl who was trying hard to figure out who she was and how she felt about things, never pushing too hard but consistently showing a desire to be closer to her.

 Showing time and time again a deep love for God and His children as he served them and prayed for them and worried about them. 

Giving guidance that came from just wanting the best for his little girl, despite eye rolls and fear and frustrations. 

Driving long distances to bring something that was forgotten. Never complaining about it, just doing it because that's the kind of father he was. 

Watching his youngest daughter becoming an adult and finding her prince and feeling like he's losing her just as he was finally finding her.

Hoping he had taught her well and had done all that he could to help her become the type of person that would be kind, and work hard, and focus on Christ, and to try again and again to improve when shown weaknesses.  

And in my entirely biased opinion, I think he nailed it, and set his kids off with the best foundation they could need to tackle the chaos of this world. None of us are perfect, but I think he did a perfect job at trying his best and pointing all of us kids in the right direction. 

Now he's the sweetest Papa, always ready to snuggle his grand babies and show them videos of monster trucks and puppies. Always there to tell the exhausted parents that they are doing a good job. Offering his help and love and baby sitting abilities when he can. 

Dad, you were and are the best father I could have hoped for, and I'm constantly thankful for your example and love that has helped shape me into who I am today. Happy Father's Day! You are so loved. 

Thank you for always being there. 💙

1992  July       Chelsie is 3 months old..jpg
1996             Daddy, 31, and Chelsie, 4..jpg
1996  April    Chelsie's 4th birthday party with her friends..jpg
1998  June    Trevor, almost 4, Daddy, 33, and Chelsie, 6, holding a very wiggly fish!!.jpg
2000  May    Daddy, 35, and Chelsie, 8,  ready for Chelsie's baptism!.jpg
2002  March    Dad, 37, and Chelsie, 9, at Chelsie's 4th grade fieldtrip..jpg
2010  December  Christmas!! (27).JPG
2010  May          Our trip to Salt Lake City! (67).JPG
Sneakily filling my car up with gas but I caught him ❤️ 

Sneakily filling my car up with gas but I caught him ❤️ 

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❤️ 

❤️ 

Date Night Ideas and Tips

Guys! I love Date Night!  And having Valentine's Day this week really has strengthening marriages on my mind. ❤️

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Getting that precious time, one on one, to talk about adult things and to reconnect and have fun together is so important! Kyler and I are the biggest believers in making your marriage as strong and awesome as possible, and regular date nights absolutely help with that.

We definitely understand how hard it can be to make them happen though, especially if you have tight finances or young children at home, but don't give up hope! Date nights are still possible, even in those situations! 

So, here is a list of some of our favorite date nights that we've done in the past, split up into several different financial/situational categories to apply to the different stage of life you may be in. I've also got some advice and tips through out and at the end for how to get the most out of your date nights and how to make them as regular as possible. :) We definitely aren't perfect in our marriage (like, not even close 😂) but we do love date nights and have felt a huge benefit within our relationship when we prioritize them! I'd love to hear your date night ideas and tips as well so comment at the end if you have any! :) 

 

Free or Cheap Date Nights

- Go play at the park! Sounds silly, but the playground can be pretty dang fun with the love of your life  

Cheesey, yes, but I love this picture all the same :)  

Cheesey, yes, but I love this picture all the same :)  

- Grab a camera and take "couple pictures" with the timer setting. Call us crazy but doing this has been one of our favorite date nights because we have fun thinking of good and dorky poses and just goofing off together :)  

- Get some ice cream! Even just getting out of the house for an hour or two for a small little ice cream cone and some good conversation can make all the difference in your relationship 

- Go thrifting! (Pretending that's a word if it's not🙊) Somehow we end up at DI (a thrift store in Utah) at the end of at least half of our dates ha! We love finding good deals and if you check regularly enough you can find some pretty neat stuff. :)

- If tight on money, eat dinner at home and then go out to a nicer place just for dessert! Still feels like you went out but you only had to pay for the cheaper part of the evening! 

Hello windy night ha ha  

Hello windy night ha ha  

- (if LDS) Go the temple together! ❤️ 

- Go for a walk or hike in nature and watch the sunset together 

 

 

 

At Home Date Nights

 - Play board games! We have a lot of fun being teasingly (okay, sometimes seriously😅)  competitive with each other. 

- Have a fancy dinner date at your own kitchen table! Make a favorite meal or order take out, break out the fine china, light some candles and dress up all fancy. 

- Ask each other questions about your childhood, time during school, favorite memories while growing up etc. Kyler and I talk about pretty much everything and it always amazes me that we still have so much new information to share with each other. I once heard that you should seek an education in your spouse. Example- maybe when you are married you have a high school diploma or maybe even an associates degree in regard to how well you know each other- well keep continuing the education! Keep learning and growing and get as many "degrees" in each other as you can. :) 

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- Watch a show or movie together. Now this one I share with caution though. I personally don't think that Netflix and Redbox should be your date night every week. It becomes really easy, especially as young parents with babies who go to bed early, to just go on auto pilot and watch a ton of TV and to never actually talk to each other or deepen your relationship with one another because you're tired and you just want to zone out. I get it! As a woman who needs 9 hours of sleep at night to be a happy human (and who rarely gets that amount every night because #pregnancyinsomnia,) I really get it! But I've learned that marriages don't stay at one level all the time. They are constant work. 😬 I often think of the analogy of marriage as an escalator heading downwards and that we are walking upwards with our spouse. If you stop putting effort into your relationship by no longer taking steps upward (symbolizing effort and progress) and just do whatever is easiest all of the time, your awesome marriage won't stay awesome! Your relationship will start to lower on the escalator. Although movies and TV shows can be a really fun way to bond with each other, I highly suggest you don't let that be the only way you bond. And while watching, I suggest you put away your phones, cuddle right up next to each other or hold hands and make sure you really CONNECT. Don't put your marriage into the hands of your television. :) When we were poor and in college we totally would watch movies together frequently, but I dare you to at least limit it to only one, maybe two weekends a month. Force yourself to get creative and avoid the easy idea every time! :) 

- If you have kiddos asleep, have one person go pick up dinner or some delicious special treat and eat it together on the porch on couch 

- If it's warm enough, lay out on a blanket in your backyard and look at the stars and talk together.  

-Make a list of meaningful songs you both love and spend time cuddling and listening to them together  

- Have a theme night! Dress up as a cowboy and girl, watch a western movie and order some KFC! Or wear kimonos, learn how to fold origami and watch The Karate Kid. I once decorated our house with candy and dressed up like Willy Wonka and we watched Charlie and the Chocolate factory 😂 This concept is fun because you can mix it up in a million different ways and it's just fun being ridiculous and goofy together! 

- Make a treat together: cookies, chocolate covered pretzels, some fancy cake you've never tried before etc 

 

Out on the Town Date Nights  

- The classic dinner and a movie  

- Try a new restaurant every time  

- Laser tag

- Play at an arcade  

-  Go buy a new outfit for each other 

- Check out a comedy show  

- Get tickets for local theater performances   

- Attend a concert  

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- Do a seasonal activity like walking around Christmas lights, go sledding, attend an outside concert, go swimming, try snowboarding or skiing, go to a Pumpkin Patch, walk around a park with all of the new flowers blooming, play on the sidewalk with chalk etc 

 - Go to a foreign market and buy a bunch of different types of candies and treats and do a taste night! 

 

Random Tips  

-If money is so scarce and there is no room in the budget at all for baby sitters, try doing a date night swap with other couples that have kids! Take turns babysitting for one another so the other couple can have a kid free night.  

One of the best triple date nights ever!  

One of the best triple date nights ever!  

- Double dates can be so fun, but make sure you're still getting one on one date nights most of the time! You are strengthening the relationship of the people you are spending time with, so if you are on a double date you are strengthening your relationship most with the other couple right? And that's not bad at all! But make sure you still get that time in that is 100% focused on just you and your spouse, because that prioritized time alone is what makes strong marriages! But also, occasional double (or triple) dates can be a super fun way to mix things up and create fun memories with friends! ❤️

- Set a monthly Babysitter and Date night budget! When life got busier for us with Kyler's job and church responsibilities, we decided to make Date Nights with a babysitter a top priority so our marriage wouldn't get lost amongst the chaos. We decided on a set amount to put in each budget (and we do cash budgets where we literally get cash out and put it in envelopes) and if there is any left over at the end of the month, we roll it over to the next month! By budgeting for it, it's made it 100% easier to get Date Nights in! We're also lucky to live in a neighborhood with a lot of cute, responsible teenage girls we can hire as cheaper sitters so that's been super lucky for us as well! I love the monthly cash budget concept for this though because you could put aside as little as $5 a month for each budget and save it up and go out once it's big enough for something you two want to do. (Or even just save all of your pocket change and see how quickly you can build it up for a night out!) No matter the amount you set, it's just nice knowing you have a date night coming up. And if it's budgeted for you don't have to worry that a date night will blow all your money either! Win win! 

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- Don't be afraid to get vulnerable on date night! Some of our best talks about how our relationship is doing have been over dinner or in our car eating a treat together. Dates are meant to strengthen our marriages, not solely to have fun (although that's definitely a plus!) Ask each other if you are truly happy. Talk about how needs are being met (or not.) If you'd prefer not to have serious conversations during a date night, set aside a time to have these talks regularly. I've been so grateful for these deep, meaningful talks Kyler and I have shared together and I think they've always made our bond stronger. They can be uncomfortable at first and sometimes we just want to avoid any issues or sweep them under the rug, but the closeness you feel in your marriage as you bridge those gaps is irreplaceble! (We're totally not perfect at this, but we're trying to get in a lot of practice with our communication so that maybe one day we will be! Ha ha!) 

- Before marriage, I was always told to make sure my date and I had a plan before going out. I think that was smart advice for that time of my life, but in marriage I think the most important thing you can do is just GET OUT and make Date night happen. If you get a sitter and you pull away from the driveway and say "okay.. now what?" kudos to you for taking the first step and just making the date even possible! Start out with dinner and then you can decide what to do from there. I mean, yes, planned dates are also awesome and I highly suggest those. All I'm saying is don't let the lack of a plan or some huge exciting activity stop you from even trying. Some of our best date nights have begun without a plan! Just get out of the house and celebrate that freedom and alone time together! 

- When in doubt, remember that the goal of date night is to strengthen your relationship with one another! If the date night isn't doing that, it's not a date night.

 

Apparently we take 9 million close up selfies like this on our dates 😂 

Apparently we take 9 million close up selfies like this on our dates 😂 

I hope this was helpful for some of you! :) Marriage can be so hard but it can also be such a blast, and I know regular date nights have helped keep our relationship positive and close despite the craziness that life brings! Any other awesome tips or ideas we're missing out on? Tell me below! ❤️👇🏻