Just Heather

After our super fun letter C date, we had a plan for letter M—a whole day of hitting Indy museums. We are members at both the State Museum and the Children’s Museum, plus the art museum is always free. It was supposed to be a fun, inexpensive day. We only needed a whole Saturday when someone could watch the girls.

Then, my mom volunteered to watch them for my birthday weekend—score! Sure, we could have still gone to the museum, but with an entire weekend alone, we changed the plan. Kid-Free Weekend, brought to you by the Letter M. After dinner with my family (both to celebrate my birthday and hand off the girls), we rented a few movies for Saturday.

Technically, movies are against the Alphabet Dating rules, but as part of a larger weekend, it is acceptable. Besides, we make the rules and are free to change them at will. So there. We went with both mindless action (Game of Action) & uber cheese (G.I. Joe)—neither of which I recommend.

Saturday morning featured mimosas & breakfast in bed, followed by a lazy movie marathon, curled up in bed, with a quiet house, and enjoying being together. We eventually got dressed and went to a new movie in an actual theater before dinner at Maggiano’s. When we do succumb to a simple dinner & a move date, we always see the movie first.

That way, we have something to talk about at dinner and don’t get sucked into the everyday work & kids chats. Dinner was awesome—it’s a cozy, romantic restaurant with delicious Italian food. I don’t like pasta at all, but there are plenty of other yummy options to choose.

I had hit up Twitter for a sexy dessert idea for letter M and came up with mousse, which we made together Saturday night but never got around to eating once they had chilled. And, so it became Sunday morning’s breakfast—yum! It definitely met the challenge.

We finished up the day with Macho Nachos for lunch and a few flea markets, before meeting my parents for gluten free pizza at Monical’s, to get the girls back. It was just a really laid back weekend, enjoying the quiet (and one another!). Before kids, we used to hit flea markets almost every weekend.

I think, sometimes, we forget about the simple things we used to enjoy. We get caught up in the game, planning our dates & doing things we’ve always wanted to do—which is awesome, but kinda misses the point. It’s all about being together, no matter what we’re doing.

Big, elaborate dates are obviously a lot of fun, but the simple ones are important too.

When we first started planning our alphabet dating ideas, L was one of the first things we decided on—laser tag. But, when the time came and the opportunity to go to Chicago came up, it didn’t take much to get me to change my mind. There’s always T…

And, I love Chicago.

I also love the hubby, despite his oddities. Or, maybe because of them. I don’t know. Anyway, that kind of became the theme of the weekend—Love Me Anyway. I drug him along to a blogging conference, introduced him to strangers and forced him to be—gasp!—social. He made me sit through a 5 hour geek-a-thon.

Okay, so Paul and Storm were heavily featured, but it was called W00tstock and included serious geekery I didn’t understand in the slightest. I just keep telling him I’m not a real geek. I only speak it, on occasion. But, I did enjoy my weekend.

It’s nice to take a peek at what he’s into now & then. I worried it would reinforce our differences, but we were pretty relaxed about it and just let one another be. That’s truly been our saving grace all along.

He’s always been fabulous about letting me be who I am and do what I need to figure it all out. I need a way to unwind after a long day? He’ll handle a load of laundry while I take a bubble bath. I need to vent with a girlfriend? He’ll put the kids in bed while I have a cosmo with MFJ.

I don’t always get him. I don’t always agree with him. I don’t always want to do the things he does. But, I do always love him and recognize that it’s important to him do these things anyway—with or without me.

We just need to find more ways to be who we are together.

When we began planning our alphabet dating journey, I knew there would be a few letters that tripped us up. We certainly weren’t planning to learn how to quilt together nor will we be playing a xylophone. Then it hit me—Q is for Queen for a Day! Of course, that means I had to give up letter K.

We’re still figuring out letter X, but we’ve still got awhile.

A couple weeks go, we planned for a sitter & I let the hubby know it was time for him to plan our next date. I’m not sure you could call it “planned” but it seemed like he got a chance to take me to a few places I wouldn’t ordinarily go. First, his royal majesty wanted a smoothie (a la iCarly, of course) so we drove around for a bit looking for something Yelp assured us existed but that turned out to be closed.

We wandered around the Carmel Arts & Design District—which, by the way, boasts the World’s Smallest Children’s Art Museum (as verified by the Guinness Book of World Records). The museum was closed, but I can attest to the fact that it is tiny! We wandered up the street a bit to the Sweets Shoppe, just to check out the candy store our oldest frequents with her friends. I got chocolate, naturally, and he was able order his smoothie.

He has decided he doesn’t actually like smoothies.

For dinner, he decided on Mexican—so not my favorite but I do enjoy margaritas. They had a gorgeous one on special. As it was the largest margarita I’d ever been served, I barely finished half of it. At this point, Spencer decided he was going to teach me to play Go. Except, he left his board at home so we ran home to pick it up. On the way to the coffee shop, we somehow ended up at Netheads instead.

We had a Groupon that provided a pretty good deal anyway so he decided we should play. Well, more accurately, he played—I watched. We did play a couple rounds of Scene It on the X-Box but with the various mishaps throughout, I’m not sure we were able to declare a champion! (That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.)

This was clearly his day, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy myself. Spending time doing the things he loves is something I should probably do a lot more of. I used to—when you’re young & newly in love there’s just something about hanging on his arm while he plays video games or snuggling next to him to watch a movie you’d never pick. As the years go by, though, and time alone or together is few & far between, we’ve tried to choose things we could both enjoy.

Which means, I don’t scrapbook. He doesn’t play video games. I don’t watch chick flicks. He misses scary movies. I read a little less (even if it is still a lot). He plays less guitar. There’s less me and more we—on both sides—and that’s not always a good thing. If I lose myself, what’s left for him to love? Our 40×40 lists are helping, but we need to have the chance to share our separate interests together again.

Alphabet Dating to the rescue again—it’s been a journey of discovery & learning as well as reconnection, all along.


On the day of our vow renewal, I got a call from my cousin, asking if I had cold feet. I was happy to have someone playing along with our whole 2nd wedding thing and even more thrilled it happened to be her. We had forgotten to plan past the ceremony to our evening in Vegas, and Allison had recently lived there. I knew she’d have great suggestions for dinner, and she did not disappoint!

J is for Just Married (Again), and I fully intended to enjoy a night of having the hubby all dressed up. Our limo returned us to the hotel, where we dropped off our wedding DVD and the kitschy bride & groom champagne flutes I’d purchased. From there, we walked the Vegas strip in our fancy clothes, headed towards Smith & Wolensky’s for our dinner reservation, as recommended.

Along the way, we had a planned stop at the Bellagio. I could think of nothing more romantic than watching the fountains with my “new” hubby.


We got a lot of comments about our hats as we walked—I just knew they were made for Vegas! It was our first time on the strip, and I’m so glad we were dressed for the occasion. You really see a little of everything in Las Vegas, but I loved the feeling of being well dressed while we were out & about among the lights. We arrived at dinner a few minutes early, and took some time to wander into a sports shop. They had collector’s items, photos and autographed merchandise. My favorite part? Seeing Colts stuff at 4 times the price we’d pay here in Indy.

Dinner was Fab.U.Lous. For real. I had, as per usual, steak & baked potato. The hubby had some sort of disgusting seafood platter, but he seemed pleased. I also ordered a Cosmo—it might be my favorite cocktail EVER. I’ve discovered Absolut vodka is not gluten free, though, so I have to be careful when ordering them out. Our server assured us they had a few potato vodkas to choose from and proceeded to bring me the greatest Cosmo I have ever tasted.

When he stopped by to see how I was enjoying it, I asked for the name of the Vodka. He couldn’t remember and offered to go check. I told him he could check on it while he fetched me another one—yum! The 2nd Cosmo was my last drink of the evening, but I will definitely be buying Glacier sometime soon. Um, not too soon, though. MFJ and I are currently in the middle of a drink-from-your-pantry challenge since we had gotten into the habit of buying whatever we wanted every girls’ night.

But this is a story about our wedding night. Er, most of it. It truly was a magical day, and I’m so glad we decided to renew our vows. It was important to celebrate the progress we’ve made and the steps we’re taking to be a stronger couple.

Downtown Indy LightsThe hubby and I really enjoyed exploring downtown Indianapolis for our D-date. We had such a great time and didn’t make it to everything we had wanted to include, even though we spent 8 hours downtown! It was decided, then and there, that I would be for Indianapolis. I was especially thrilled that I would fall in December because I wanted to take a horse-drawn carriage ride with jingle bells & hot cocoa.

Weber GrillWith Christmas on the horizon (not to mention a celebration the very next morning for which we had not finished shopping!), we decided to hit Circle Center Mall. I had been a few, quick times but never had the chance to explore. The hubby had never been to anything but a restroom. It was fun to wander around, shopping together. I don’t know why we don’t do that more often. (Oh, right. Three kids.) With Christmas shopping finished and packages stowed in the car, we moved onto dinner.

Mai-Tai & Twisty StrawThere are a large number of downtown restaurants we have always wanted to try “someday” so we definitely had options. Weber Grill was our final selection, and it was fab.u.lous. Their homemade barbecue sauce is incredibly tasty. I couldn’t decide between chicken & sausage so I ordered the combo. It came with a side of barbecue baked beans—so yummy! I also ordered a beautiful—and completely delicious—Mai-Tai. I think my favorite part of the entire meal may have been the uber-twisty straw that came with it!

ClydesdaleWe walked off dinner with a journey to the circle. I’ve seen all the holiday lights in passing over the years, but this was the first time we had taken the time to experience them up close and personal. The toy soldiers around the Soldiers & Sailors Monument? Yeah, they’re soldiers and sailors! As expected, the carriages were decked out in jingle bells & holly. We rode in a carriage pulled by a gorgeous Clydesdale named Levi. The lights of the city were beautiful as we snuggled together with our hot cocoa from South Bend Chocolate Cafe.

I is for IndianapolisWhen our ride ended, so did our fairy tale evening. Back to reality for these parents, but we (once again) didn’t get the chance to visit everything we wanted. We’ll be back for our M-date to visit museums and more downtown eats. The alphabet dating project is definitely a success already—I can’t wait to blog last week’s date, as we renewed our commitment to one another.

J is for Just Married!

The hubby and I had decided on Howl at the Moon for our next alphabet date experience. He loves music, I love cocktails—clearly we are a match made in heaven. Of course, in an effort to date inexpensively, I tracked down a coupon for the piano bar. Oh, how I love Facebook coupons! For dinner, we decided to stick with the H theme and hit Big Hoffa’s.

It’s a barbecue joint right here in Westfield. We had never been before, but it came highly recommended by a friend. With a name like Big Hoffa’s, I think we were both expecting a Texas theme. Instead, we walked into a pirate’s paradise! Apparently, barbecue has roots in the Caribbean. Who knew?! The hubby enjoyed their sweet tea, and I enjoyed the decor. I kind of have a thing for pirates. We moved on to Howl at the Moon in downtown Indy. There was a bit of a wait to get in, but it wasn’t cold and we didn’t mind chatting.

It turns out, that was the last chance we’d get for the evening. The piano bar was a lot of fun, but not really conducive to a dating experience. We couldn’t hear one another at all. Of course, that meant we had to get pretty close, and that’s never a bad thing. With the free admission and drink coupons I’d scored, we were set. We (and by we, I mean I) enjoyed a couple free rum runners while we listened to the music. There was way more than just a couple pianos—we ended up being front & center for a violin solo. Very cool!


We both enjoyed the experience itself, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a date night. It didn’t allow us the opportunity to interact much at all. For a birthday party, bachelorette party or something more group oriented? It would be a blast!

2009-10-033Our weekend getaway date is brought to you by the letter G—good friends, Giordano’s and geeky guitarists! We were in Chicago for less than 24 hours, but it was an amazing weekend. I love road trips, honestly, for the uninterrupted conversations and connection. With a construction delay and marathon traffic, we had plenty of time for both. We arrived at our hotel (Intercontinental at a great deal via Hotwire.com) with barely enough time for a quick makeup touch-up before our planned dinner with an old friend.
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I love that my husband was willing to give part of our weekend away to finally meet a longtime internet friend in person. It was, of course, not like meeting someone new at all—Kathryn and I talked and enjoyed one another like old girlfriends. Because we are. The husbands indulged us and I am so glad our schedules worked so we could connect while she was in town for the marathon. We had dinner at Giordano’s (after a quick stop for my gluten meds) and it was delish, as always!

We took a cab straight to the concert. This is the part I was a little concerned about. I wasn’t particularly interested in seeing Jonathan Coulton, even though it was technically the reason for our trip. The hubby is the fan boy there, but I’m nothing if not supportive. We had also heard he would be performing a Flood show in tribute to They Might Be Giants who were performing across town. I love TMBG so I figured all was not lost. Besides, it was at a bar. I’m on a quest to sample signature martinis across the country. Park West didn’t have one, but my server came up with something fabulous! I had four a couple throughout the show.

2009-10-037The concert began with the opening band, naturally. Paul and Storm kicked off the evening with—what else—Opening Band. I had never heard them before but was instantly in love. They are smart, funny and Storm is sexy as hell. Um, I mean, they are both very talented. What can I say? I love a hot geek! The Flood Show with P&S and Jonathan Coulton came next and was amazing. It was fascinating to watch, especially knowing they had never performed that set before and had only practiced it for the week.

Jonathan Coulton was about what I expected. I loved watching the hubby enjoy himself. In fact, I spent much of his set people watching. The drunkety drunk girl in front of us provided much entertainment. (You gotta love an evening when you can enjoy four a few drinks and still not be the drunk girl.) Super fan girl with the dance moves in the front section was also highly amusing. However, the best part of our experience came after the concert. We hung around, anticipating a meet ‘n greet.

2009-10-036Security tried to shoo everyone away and insisted there wouldn’t be. This seemed off to me, from what I had read about the bands, so we hung around the merchandise table. I wanted to get the newly released Jonathan Coulton scratch ‘n sniff stickers for our little fan girl at home. Brenia is obsessed with Re: Your Brains, and has many of his other songs memorized (you know, the age appropriate ones). Our persistence paid off as all three talented men arrived to hang out with their fans for a bit. Of course, for this scene I was cast as the drunk girl.

2009-10-035The hubby got to shake fans with an idol, chat for a few minutes and collect a picture for our growing celebrity photo wall. I got to drool over Paul and Storm, and may have accidentally told Storm he was going on my celebrity list. How secure does a marriage have to be for your hubby to allow you to stalk hit on another guy while you are on a date? Of course, everyone knows a celebrity doesn’t count. Still, I’d say that’s a testament to how far we have come in the last few months. I’m willing to sit through a concert I have no interest in hearing and he’s willing to watch me drool over celebs.

That’s true love, yo.

When we embarked on our first alphabet journey, we selected the Melting Pot as F is for fondue. I chose it specifically because I had put a romantic dinner at the melting pot on my 40×40 list. However, by the time we got to F, romance was nonexistent. It was just not going to be what I wanted it to be, and I tried to convince him to go somewhere else. I believe I suggested Red Robin (F is for French Fries?), but we had a plan and—by, golly—we were sticking to it.

Whether it was self-fulfilling prophecy or I was just right all along will remain a mystery, but our $100 dinner at The Melting Pot was not what I had envisioned when I added it to my list. We were tense, quiet and I was irritated at spending so much money on just another dinner. The setting was nice—they had given us one of the private booths—and the food was good, but the experience only hammered home the fact that we were not a couple. It would be the last of our alphabet dates, and the beginning of the end.

When we started over (both literally and figuratively), the Melting Pot found itself once again listed at letter F. This time, I decided, we were going all out! I wore my little black dress. He wore his pinstripe suit and the fedora! He looked completely delicious and I couldn’t wait to have him to myself over a fondue pot of more delicious. MFJ graciously agreed to spend a quiet evening at home (ours, not hers) supervising a slumber party. The girls were excited, I was thrilled she could do my hair (and loan me the right earrings), then we were off to a late dinner at the Melting Pot.

This time, it was everything I had hoped it would be. The only drawback was we didn’t get a private booth, even though we had actually requested it this time. We were, instead, seated in Lovers’ Lane. It was set off a ways from the open seating area, with high back booths to provide a more secluded dining experience. Regardless, the food was fantastic (especially the Yin Yang Martini), he told me I was beautiful and, most importantly, the love songs in the background meant something.

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