Friday, March 23, 2012

Date Night

It's been a while since we've been on a date...two months in fact. Sure, since then we've spent a ton of time together, and we've done a ton of things. We've been out to eat, visited the zoo, taken walks, attended a Penguins game, gone shopping...but all of that involved a tiny tagalong. So while we've had fun, I wouldn't necessarily say our lives are overflowing with romance. And though our monthly goals have moved on, I'm still tied to our tradition from December that encouraged us to prioritize time with each other. Don't get me time is great, and an evening on the couch with a movie can be fun...but every once in a while you need to get out, sans kid, for a special husband-and-wife night on the town.

So when my mom called out of the blue to say she wanted to come for the weekend and watch Piper so we could go out...I just couldn't say no.

We didn't have any special plans, but we couldn't squander the chance at a night of childfree fun! We debated what to do...out options were pretty much limitless, but our goal was to take advantage of the evening and plan an outing that we couldn't do with Piper in tow. I mean, she's a great companion most of the time, but she doesn't exactly appreciate things like fine dining or adult conversation.

We figured dinner out was a no brainer, but we wanted to do it up right, and make a night of it with another activity. We thought about seeing a movie (she's definitely not a fan of being quiet for two hours at a time), but there weren't any compelling options. We considered bowling (she might not hate it, but I can't imagine a more disgusting place to bring a baby than a bowling alley), but the weather was so beautiful out, it seemed like a shame to waste the evening indoors. So after some hemming and hawing, we eventually we settled on an old standby- miniature golf!

Once the plans had finally been made, we were excited to go, but a little hesitant to leave Piper for the evening. We knew she'd be in good hands, but it's hard not to feel guilty for leaving her, or like we're burdening whoever is watching her. Dustin felt the worst...he suggested we just go somewhere quick for dinner so we could get back, but my mom assured me that they truly wanted to be with her, and that we should relax, have fun and not hurry home. So we prepared a bottle, layed out some jammies, and hightailed it out of there before any of us could change our minds.

And from the minute we got in the car...we just had a blast. I thought we might have to make a "no Piper" clause to keep our date from devolving into a night of baby-talk, but honestly, we barely mentioned her. We were having too much fun to worry much about how the rest of the family was doing! We laughed and joked, made wagers on the game, and just really enjoyed a chance to relax and be together without any sort of caretaking, schedules or practical concerns to get in the way.

Somehow, after some fierce competition, we ended up tying. What are the odds?!

For dinner, we decided to check out a place several people had recommended for my birthday dinner- Willow. Apparently hitting tiny colored balls around for an hour caused us to work up quite the appetites, because we pretty much ordered the entire menu. In our defense, a lot of the choices were "small plates", so I got a couple of those instead of a real entree, but still...we put a hurtin' on some food:

Clockwise from top left: olive oil and parmesean for dipping; the wedge- baby iceberg, candied bacon, scotch egg, blue cheese dressing, berry compote, grape tomatoes; gnudi- seared ricotta dumplings, veal meatballs, sauteed escarole, sauce bolognese; double cut barbeque pork chop- beer brined bone-in pork chop, grilled with homemade bbq sauce sharp cheddar polenta, collard greens, crispy onion straws; seared scallops and korean pork-seared sea scallops, korean bbq pork belly, miso caramel, marinated shitake mushrooms; grown up mac & cheese- orecchiette pasta, braised short rib, caramelized onions, spinach, brie cream sauce baked with herbed bread crumbs.

Yes, the food was fabulous (I mean, really fabulous). But I think the best part was allowing ourselves to get a few courses, to drink, to talk, to take our time. So many of our meals now are hurriedly eaten while Piper naps, or wolfed down before she gets tired of sitting in her bumbo, or eaten one handed while trying to soothe and/or entertain a cranky baby. To sit next to one another for over an hour, with nothing else to do, and no where else to go, was possibly the most delicious part of all.

Sorry Piper. You are greatly loved, but you weren't terribly missed.

It was a simple evening, but such a wonderful chance to connect with each other. We may have a house, and a baby, and responsibilities, and stress, and wrinkles....But on the inside we're not that far off from the silly kids we were when we met almost nine years ago. I'm still happy to date Dustin, and hope he feels the same way...forever.


  1. love it. especially how much food your ordered. a girl after my own heart!
    great night out!