Friday, March 17, 2017

The Concept Of Improvising Gets A Bad Rap. But, It Shouldn't.

Years ago, date night or date day used to happen away from home. It was nothing for us to take off for a few hours at night for dinner and drinks or to enjoy an afternoon taking scenic drives, visiting the local wineries, or frequenting the numerous flea markets in the area. We also ran errands together. A few times, we ventured out of state for a night or two. Spontaneity was an option. Now, not so much.

Over the past 5 years, our family has grown. A lot has changed. That includes date nights. Escaping for an entire afternoon. A blissful night spent at a romantic ocean side resort. A few days escape into the White Mountains in New Hampshire.

Now, by choice, we improvise. 

Date nights are spent at home with takeout and several hours of cards.

We aren't able to escape for an afternoon on a whim, but with a lot of planning, we make it work twice a month.

Overnight trips are a thing of the past. There's no improvising.

And, if we want to have a Game Night or Girl's Night, we have it here in our home.

That's exactly what happened earlier this evening. 

It's St. Patrick's Day. We're not Irish. Not even close. However, once a year, on St. Patrick's Day, I make a huge corned beef dinner. This year, we invited a couple of our neighbor friends over. Dinner. Drinks. Games. Great conversation. Lots of laughs.

Lisa brought home a just because gift. It was her way of thanking me for making an incredible dinner and dessert. Apothic Rose. She knows how much I enjoy the Apothic line. It's another one of their limited release wines.

It was love at first sip.

The biggest challenge, before our guests arrived, was figuring out where to put the doggy beds and pet pillows in the kitchen. Most times, when we have company, Coco happily stays in the bedroom. He doesn't like crowds or loud noises. It makes him nervous. Sophie and Lobo stay in the kitchen. We put doggy beds and pet pillows in designated spots.

Tonight was the first time we've had company over since our family got a little bit bigger. We had no idea where to put the extra doggy bed so it wouldn't be in the path to the fridge, oven, or bathroom.

We finally figured it out. 

The festivities began around 6. Dinner was scrumptious. The Red Guitar, our neighbor friend brought, was another "love at first sip" wine.

For dessert, I made chocolate mint cupcakes with a minty butter cream frosting.


After dinner, the wine continued to flow, we played a game, sat and chatted, picked at the leftover food, and laughed until our tummies hurt.

The evening ended not too long ago. I tucked Lisa, Coco, Sophie, and Lobo into bed. I gave Olivia her nighttime bowl o' produce and Timothy hay. I'm on the sofa working from the Chrome book. Willa is curled up behind my knees sound asleep.

I'm wide awake. I feel refreshed.

The past couple of weeks hasn't been easy with the new addition to our family, Willa. She's in heat. My sleep schedule has temporarily changed. I have fallen behind with some work and other stuff. I was on the brink of deeming myself as a total failure.

We all needed tonight for different reasons. 

Often times, the concept of improvising gets a bad rap.

Over the years, a few people have tried to convince us that "date night isn't date night unless you go out...."

Well, that's not entirely true.

Lisa and I have eaten quite a few dinners "out" for date night. Most have been delicious. No complaints. But. The date night dinners at home, whether in the form of takeout or a scrumptious spread we made together, have been far better for so many reasons.

We're at home.

Our kids are with us.

Our choice of attire isn't important.

We play cards while eating dinner.

We can laugh as loud as we want and drop the F-Bomb freely.

There's no time limit.

If we feel like "catching a movie" after dinner, there's no rush to make it on time.

Thanks to Netflix and Amazon Prime.

The commute is only a few yards from the kitchen to the sofa.

Our kids can snuggle with us.

Improvising for Girl's Night is kind of great too.

All of our neighbor friends either live across the street or upstairs.

No designated driver needed.

The food is much better than a restaurant.

The drinks are cheaper and better.

The dress code is a lot more relaxed.

No bras required.

No mile long bathroom lines.

If the kids have to go out, so be it. We all get up, stretch, go our separate ways for about 20 minutes to let our kids out.

Our guests eventually trickle back in.

We convene where we left off.

It's that simple.

We embrace the fine art of improvising.

At the end of the day, we all part ways feeling a little better. More refreshed. Lighter. Less stressed. Able to exhale.

Happy St. Patrick's Day.

*raises the last glass of wine*

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