kids, Parenting

Today, I put it on God.

Today, I put it on God. I don’t say that lightly at all. Today, we were faced with so many questions as a family about where we are going— where we want to be. Personally. Professionally. Short term. Long term. I feel like so often, we’re told that being stressed, being overwhelmed, or unhappy is part of life— it’s what we now call “adulting.” I used to believe that. I used to think that I had to settle for that. But after having a child, my thought process has drastically changed. Do my husband and I need to work in order to provide for our family? Absolutely. I’m not saying I’m searching for the plush life of staying at home, living large, and not working. Instead, I’m telling you that maybe, just maybe, it’s about perspective.

Do we need to feel trapped in our jobs? Do we need to feel under-appreciated day in and day out? Do we need to sacrifice time with our family for others who wouldn’t blink an eye to do the same? While society tells me each day “Yes!” my head and heart are now screaming “No!”. No, I don’t need to settle for a job that looks at me as simply a number. No, I don’t need to settle for sacrificing hours of my time at home with my young family, to go above and beyond for someone else’s children. No, I don’t need to settle for a job that no longer makes me happy. I’m tired of the emptiness I’m feeling right now and stressing about this day in and day out. I don’t want to keep watching my husband struggle with the balance of wanting to provide a comfortable lifestyle for our family, while feeling stifled inside. Stuck. Unable to pursue his real dreams and goals.

Part of me knows that my mindset needs to change. I need to stop being sucked into the consumerism of today’s world. To stop worrying about the fleeting things of the physical world (the bigger house, the fancy car, the designer clothes) and instead focus on the gifts I’ve been given( my talents, my husband, my kids). It’s hard, but possible…with His help.

I wish that it was simple and that with a snap of my fingers all the stress of work would all go away. It won’t. So, instead, I’m putting it in God’s hands. Instead of complaining, I’m sending my stress, my worries, and my trust to him. Instead of thinking I’m in control, I’m leaning on him to show and provide a more balanced path for our family; to guide me to the path that he has perfectly paved for me. It may be hours, weeks, months, or years. I know he’ll provide. But for today, I put it all on God.

Philippians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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education, kids, Parenting, Uncategorized

Momma on a Mission: Part 2

When my husband and I decided that it was in the best interest for our family this year for me to take a year off from teaching by extending my maternity leave, I had mixed emotions. For the last eight years, I had been a teacher. It was my passion–it was my identity. While I was ecstatic to have the opportunity to stay at home with our son and have the chance to witness and be a part of each and every one of his “firsts”, I also had some guilt. I had ALWAYS contributed to our household income and that was something I took pride in. I wanted to stay home, but I also wanted to bring in some extra money so that our family could continue to live comfortably. I had very little idea at how difficult that could be.

For weeks, I searched the internet for remote jobs with flexible hours, allowing me to spend my days with our son and drop-off and pick-up my step-daughter from school. Very little results showed up in my search. I’m not very good at asking people to purchase things, so I knew direct sales wasn’t going to bring in the revenue I was hoping. With an infant at home who is nursing and dependent on me, customer service jobs requiring phone calls or set working hours just didn’t seem reasonable. Family and friends recommended I offer childcare, but to me, that wouldn’t allow me the same one-on-one, genuine time with my son–the reason I was staying home. I was picky, leaving me with very few options.

Then, I stumbled upon an ad on Facebook for VIPKids. I remembered that I had looked into this months ago, while pregnant with Kellen. I went through the initial steps, but when I saw I had to do a live demo class, I had abandoned my application. I was scared. Looking back at it now, I have no idea why. I have interviewed for multiple teaching and administrative positions in my career. I have had a successful career thus far in the field of teaching. So what was there to be nervous about? Out of options and desperate to find something that would help my family, I decided to complete my application and signed up for my live demo class. It was the best decision! I have officially completed my first month as a VIPKids teacher and am ready to share with you why this is a wonderful side hustle for any one!

What is VIPKids?

VIP Kids is an online learning platform designed to help Chinese students learn English. The company has a flipped classroom approach in which students study material on their own and then use the VIPKid classroom platform to demonstrate and practice their learning with a native English-speaking teacher. The students and teachers both log-on to an online learning platform with interactive slides for learning and practice. The company has headquarters in both China and the United States and offers flexible teaching hours to native English speakers who hold a bachelor’s degree (in any field) and has relative experience working with kids (volunteering, coaching, teaching, mentoring, babysitting, etc).

What is the application process like?

To begin the application process, you are first asked to complete an application form with basic information: name, education background, and work experience. Once your application is completed, you are then prompted to book an interview. You can choose to book your interview right away and then look over the preparation materials, or choose to book an online interview at a later date. Sometimes, they also give the option for applicants to record a demo lesson that can be scored and later reviewed. I did this at first, but still had to do the online, live demo class, so I recommend just starting with that! Once you schedule an online interview, you need to review the materials that are provided. They are extremely important in ensuring that you score well on the rubric you will be graded on.  They also have videos that help you see and understand how to use TPR (total physical response) and props in your teaching.

What materials are needed/ required?

In order to teach for VIPKids you are required to have a computer device of some kind (laptop, MAC),  a camera (most are installed on your laptops already and those are fine!), and a headset with a microphone. I found a cheap one on Amazon!

In addition, you must have a wired DSL connection of at least 20 Mbps. In order to do this, I bought a cheap ethernet cord to connect to my laptop and run it to the room I teach in. You can find these in stores, but I bought mine on Amazon, too!

VIPKids also recommends setting up a classroom in a small corner or room away from noise and distractions. With two dogs and two kids at home, I created a small teaching room in one of our walk-in closets for now! It sounds funny, but works great! They also recommend that you have good lighting, as you are normally teaching during the early morning or late evening hours, when natural light is hard to come by.  Thus, I could a few cheap lights from Wal-Mart to help ensure good lighting for my classroom.

What are the hours like?

The hours are something that I know can make some people hesitant, especially if you are still working a full-time job.  The big thing to understand about this job is that because you are teaching live to students in China, there is about at 13 hour time difference. Thus, the peak booking hours during the week are from 5:00 am -8:30 am Eastern time and 8:00 pm to 8:30 am Eastern Time from Friday evening through Saturday (there Saturday and Sunday). Thus, when I first started working, I signed up for the crazy 1am-5am time slots, hoping to get my first few bookings. While I did, I also realized this wasn’t the best option for me, while nursing a four-month old throughout the night! Instead, I open up booking slots from 5am-6:30 am three to four days a week and 6:00 am-8:00 am on Saturday and Sundays. This works well for me as most of my family is still asleep, and my husband is home to meet any needs the kids may have.

What I really love about this company is that there are no set amount of hours that you must work. Thus, if you can only work on weekends, that’s fine.

What is the pay like?

The pay scale varies, based on your education background and your interview. The base pay is between $8- $10 a class. Each class is only 25 minutes long. Thus, your base rate could be $16-$20 an hour. In addition, VIP Kids offers cash incentives. If you show up on time to a class and teach it through the required time, you can earn extra money per class. There are also incentives for teaching 35 or more classes in a given month (super easy to do) and other competitions and incentives that they put out each month to encourage teachers to continue to take professional development offerings or to get certified in additional teaching levels ( VIPKids has different levels of teaching for students–you must be certified through a demo to do each level).

To give you a brief idea, in my first month of teaching with VIP Kids, I taught 50 classes, equaling 25 total hours of work. I started all classes on time and taught over 35 classes, qualifying me for two additional income incentives. Today, I received a direct deposit payment for $565.00.

How much work/ prep is required?

If you are currently a teacher, or have been a teacher, then you will absolutely LOVE this. The lesson planning and prep work is done for you! The slide shows are interactive in nature and are loaded into the classroom platform for you during your class time. All I have to do to prepare for my class is glance over the slide show and the learning objectives ( which I can do from my laptop or my phone app). I then gather a few learning props, usually flashcards from the $1 bin at Target or toys I have in my kids’ room, and I am ready to go! If you Google videos of other VIPKid teachers, you will see that there are some that really go above and beyond! More power to them, but I like to keep it fun and easy. Yes, I provide high energy and enthusiasm to my students, as well as some fun props, but I don’t go all out in decorating my “classroom” or buying expensive props.

At the conclusion of the lesson, you are asked to provide feedback for each student’s lesson. All that is required are a few sentences stating what the child learned and/or excelled in during the lesson, as this goes to parents. You are then able to provide feedback for the child’s next teacher (as it may not be you), as well as feedback for the VIPKid lesson itself. That’s it. My “grading” takes about 2-3 minutes.

Why I love VIPKids :

VIPKids has allowed me to continue to practice my profession and love for teaching, conveniently from my home, while not taking away from my precious time with my little one. The online platform is safe and secure, and allows me to teach and help students learn in a fun environment, without all of the stresses of teaching such as lesson planning, grading, and parent issues!

If you’re looking for a side hustle while staying home with your little ones, or simply would like to make some extra money to help pay off debt or an upcoming vacation, I HIGHLY recommend looking into VIP Kids. Don’t let the application or interview process deter you, like it first did me. It’s an amazingly fun and easy way to make some extra cash, while helping students along the way.

If you’re interested in signing-up, use my unique referral code to help fast-track your application!

https://t.vipkid.com.cn/mkt/landing/personal?referralToken=7259445c1bebde6c0dad82d35b85f970&refereeId=13799653

kids, Parenting

Take a Chance: Date the Single Dad

Let’s be frank, dating, in general is hard. Dating when ALL of your friends are married or engaged is even harder. In 2015, this was me. I was on my way to an annual cookout with all of my friends to mark the “end” of summer. Headed to a cookout where seemingly everyone, but myself, fell into two categories: married or engaged. Being in your mid-to-late twenties, this can make it EXTREMELY difficult to date, let alone actually meet someone to date when you’re typically just the third wheel. Nevertheless, I loved hanging out with my friends and their husbands, who had become my friends, so on to the party I went. 

Then, just like the movies, it happened. Somehow, for once, I wasn’t the ONLY single person at the party. I walked in and instantly noticed the cute guy across the yard. I needed to know more. I’d never seen him. Could it actually be my luck that he was there, alone, available? The answer would be, no, he wasn’t. He wasn’t there alone. He was there with his two-year-old daughter, recently divorced. Most would read or hear these two lines and RUN for the hills. You’re thinking , “You’re in your mid-twenties, you’re single, you don’t need that kind of baggage, that responsibility.” But, I’m here to urge you to reconsider, to tell you why you should take the chance on the single dad.

Before deciding if I was ready for this new world of dating, one that would require master scheduling to accommodate custody days and both our work schedules, I first needed to get some background information. I didn’t know this man OR his story. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t getting into a situation that would set me up to get hurt. Luckily, we had mutual friends, so I was able to lean on them for information (and as I’d find out later – he had been doing the same thing). It’s important to know  the back story from caring friends along with his perspective. In my case, I had learned what an EXTRAORDINARY dad this man was, which was further confirmed as I watched him play and interact with his daughter throughout the night. There were no cheesy pick-up lines, no abandoning of his fatherly duties to try to “make-a-move.”  In fact, nothing of the kind. We chatted and went our separate ways, not evening exchanging numbers that night. But you know what–that proved something to me. This guy was different. He was one of the good ones–one of the ones that are extremely hard to find in today’s dating world, one I just knew I needed to take a chance on. 

Flash forward to one of our early dates. We were planning to go to an Indianapolis Colts game, one of our shared interests. I was excited to spend the day with him, to get to know him more, and see where this was heading. A few hours before our scheduled date, I got a message.  We would either need to cancel our date, or he would need to bring his daughter with us as the custody schedule had changed abruptly. This was a big moment–we were early into dating. Was I ready to spend the whole day with him and his daughter? What would that entail? What would that mean?

Looking back now, it meant SO much more than I knew in that moment. Was the date very different than the ones you picture from the romantic comedies filled with “Kiss-Cam” scenes? Absolutely! Instead, it included listening to Disney Pandora on the ride to and from the stadium, along with lots of bathroom and snack trips. But, it was by far one of my most favorite memories of our dating relationship. Why? I got to see what so very few women get to see–how their significant other will one day be as a father. I was able to see a man who was so very devoted to his child. Who loved her and would put her above anything else. I was able to interact with them as a pair–to see how that dynamic worked when a new person steps in (me). And, most importantly, I was able to test myself to see if I was capable of being that new, strange person. I was able to see how I would act as I spent time with two people who already shared so many memories together… old memories that I would never be a part of. And let me tell you, that part is hard. 

I need to tell you, that while it is SO worth it to date the single dad (or mom!), it’s not always going to be sunshine and rainbows. It is hard to be the “outsider” in a relationship between a parent and their child. It is hard to know that no matter how much you fall in love with them both, there will be memories that you won’t be a part of. You can’t “play” mom–that role is already filled. They don’t need you to be that. They need you, to be YOU. To fill-in a new role, one that they haven’t had. He needs you to fill in the hole that has been missing: the hole that was hurt by a marriage that fell apart. The hole that required him to play both mom and dad at his house while balancing work life. He needs you to just listen…to support, but not to engage or provoke any hard feelings. He wants that gone. He wants love, a second chance at it.

Dating is hard in general, and I am here to tell you that dating the single dad can be hard. It will be trying at times–it’s hard to balance a new relationship when you will always have to deal with an old one. But, I urge any of you who are like me and saw that cute boy from across the cookout and just couldn’t get him off your mind, to follow your instincts. To watch him as he interacts with his child. To watch him as he weighs every decision and  puts his child and you first. Watch him, because I guarantee he will surprise you every day. He will continue to date you, fight for you, and love you every day because you helped to give him that second chance that he so worried he’d never get. You loved not only him, but his child as well. And that’s a very rare and special kind of love, my friend.

kids, Parenting

Confessions of a New Momma: Fear of Failure

This morning, I found myself with an unusual amount of time completely to myself. Today was “Donuts With Dad” at my stepdaughter’s school and she had requested the presence of not only my husband, but also her brother! So here I am, with time to actually get dressed, drink a hot cup of coffee and eat breakfast, all by myself! This time for myself had me reflecting on the past few months–how very different life has been for me and the decisions we had made as a family that led me to this moment, sitting in my kitchen typing, instead of starting first period in my classroom. And of course, the waterworks ensued.

You see, it wasn’t just the financial change that scared me about making the decision to stay home the remainder of the year. Yes, it would be a big change, but there was something deeper that scared me. Something much more personal–FEAR. Not financial fear, but fear of  a different kind.

I was fearful of being a “letdown” to my husband. Ever since we had met, I have had the “go-getter” mentality. I was finishing up graduate school when we met, working full-time as a teacher and JV basketball coach. I thrived on achievement and was proud that I was able to own my home at the age of 25. I loved bringing in a paycheck, of feeling like I contributed. Our marriage has always been connected to the “team member” mentality–we both help out, both contribute. I had such a fear that by my not going back to work, that go-getter woman he married would become just a blur. Our “team” marriage mentality, gone.

I was fearful of being a “letdown” to my parents. My parents are both in education, having worked hard to be in administrative leadership positions. They are the reason I went into the field of education, why I became a passionate teacher. I have witnessed their sacrifices, both in personal time and financially, to ensure that my sister and I received the best education–that we would be able to thrive in our careers as adults. Once I graduated, they helped mentor me, to prepare me for interviews, setting up my classroom, and new, innovative classroom ideas. They encouraged me to not always follow the crowd, but to instead step outside of the box and try the new classroom technique, to push the limits as long as I always held to the belief that every child had the right to learn, every child has untapped potential. The fear of telling them I didn’t want to return to the classroom this year, that I wanted to spend more time at home, scared me. I didn’t want to let them down. I didn’t want them to feel that they had “wasted” their money, their time, their support.

I was fearful of what my working mom friends would think. I didn’t want them to think any differently of me–either that I was “lazy” and leaning on my husband to work solely for our family, or that I had jumped on the idea that being a “working-mom” is terrible for your family, your children. ( Because, let’s be honest: There are some who believe mom’s should be in the home full-time and others who believe mom’s should work as examples for their children, or just because they need to in order to provide. I say YOU DO YOU!) Most of my close friends and family are working moms and I was fearful that my short-time shift to staying home this year would leave me a bit alienated–that’d we have less in common or that’d they see me through a different lens.

I was fearful that I wouldn’t be able to do it. The role of “wife” and “mommy” is hard. Mainly, because it is a job that you are “on-call” for 24/7. There are no weekends off, lunch breaks, or paid time off. I live in such a fear that I am not “good” enough at either job, especially not at the same time! It’s exhausting being responsible for a tiny human’s every need, then add in running a household, feeding your family, and taking time to continue to build upon my marriage and relationship with God and now you have one tired, pulled-too-thin momma.  My  greatest fear jumping into staying home the remainder of this year, after my family and I have sacrificed so much in order to do so, is that I will not come through for them. That I won’t be the best mom and step-mom to our kids, fully living in the moment with them. That I won’t be the loving, supportive wife that my husband needs. That I won’t stay up on the household jobs that keep our household running. That I will be deemed a “first-time” momma failure.

Now, even as I type out these fears I see how silly they can sound, but I also know that they are still very real. I don’t want to “fail” in any area of life–who does? But, I also know that I am not alone in these fears. Mommas, we have them. Know that it’s okay, you’re not alone. There are HARD days when you feel that you’re letting someone down. Push through. Know that in the end, you’re doing the best you can do. Lean on your husband, family, and friends during those times. Sometimes, that’s all you need–to voice your fears. Acknowledge them. Then, keep on grinding, loving on your babies and family, and trusting that you are doing an amazing job, momma!

 

 

kids, Parenting

New Year, New Priorities

Happy New Year! I have been MIA for the past few weeks, taking time to enjoy the holidays and winter break with my family. After all the prep of presents, traveling, and meals, it seems that the holidays just simply fly by! I am so lucky that I had the opportunity to soak up a few days with the ones I love!

The impending holidays also brought a hard decision for my family and I–to extend my maternity leave to the end of this year so that I can stay home with our sweet little man until he is almost a year old! I am so blessed and excited to have this time with our son–time that I truly believe I can never get back–but it was also a very emotional and difficult decision for me.

For the past eight years, all I have ever known is teaching. I have poured my time, heart, and soul ( and let’s be honest, pocketbook!) into teaching. From the moment I received my first classroom in North Carolina in 2007, I knew that teaching children (especially elementary) was what I was made to do, the gift that God had blessed me with. I loved every minute of it–even the hard days when I wasn’t sure anyone had learned a thing from me that day! I decided to begin graduate school when I was 25 to earn my Master’s degree in administration, so I could one day be a school principal and extend my reach beyond just the four walls of my own classroom. Education ran in my blood and I had huge aspirations to make a difference in the lives of children.

Then, on August 27, 2018 at 9:00 pm my priorities changed. For the first time, I laid eyes on my sweet Kellen Robert Ray and everything in my world looked different. My priorities changed. I wanted to see every smile, hear every giggle, and witness every milestone that my little man would have in his first year of life. To me, four months just wasn’t enough. I loved teaching, but the thought of being away from him for seven to eight hours, to return home exhausted and with only a few hours before baths and bedtime, set me on an emotional rollercoaster. My heart was telling me to soak up this time. That my career path would always be there, but my little baby would not.

My head, on the other hand, reminded me that we had car payments, a mortgage, groceries, and other expenses each month that needed paid. We planned for a four-month maternity leave, but not a full year off. I have always been a planner. I have always lived with a safety net for my finances. I have always had a plan. Thus, an internal battle between what my heart was telling me versus my head began. My husband and I decided to lean on God to guide us, just as we had just under a year ago when we found out we were expecting our little man.

As the deadline for my decision neared, I was still undecided. And then I looked at the calendar and I saw the end of December glaring back at me, sweeping me back to the memory of last Christmas. Last Christmas where I woke up early to take a pregnancy test–praying so very hard that it would be a positive. That the past few months of doctor’s appointments and medications would be worth it. Praying that I would be able to call the fertility office to cancel our impending appointment at the first of the new year. Staring back at a negative, feeling devastated, I put on a brave face for Christmas morning (and my 29th birthday) with my family.

I looked at the calendar again, seeing December 29. Again sweeping me back to that day last year when I decided to be brave and take just one more test. The day I cried in the bathroom and FaceTimed my husband because I couldn’t believe it. The day he left work early so we could get an official test done at the hospital to confirm that yes, we were pregnant. The day where I was told that we would still need to visit the fertility doctor–that we would be seeing him for the first 12 weeks of our pregnancy. The LONGEST 12 weeks of fear, excitement, and anticipation.  Looking at that calendar, thinking of how much I had prayed and waited for the moment I would meet my little man, confirmed that it was time to follow my heart and not my head.

And that leads us to the present. I am currently sitting at home on a Friday morning, watching a five-year-old play school and a four-month-old peacefully nap (well, he woke up before I edited this!). I am soaking up these moments, because I know how blessed I am. I know that by the end of today, I will have stressed about finances and have been plagued with the guilt that I am not working a multitude of times, but I will continue to lay both those onto God in prayer. We trust that he will provide for us during this time.

 

Happy New Year and may God bless you and your family this year!

 

Parenting

Married, but dating.

“Do what you did in the beginning of a relationship and there won’t be an end.” – Anthony Robbins

At my bridal shower, my bridesmaids had each guest write words of advice for me as I dove into married life. I will forever remember reading one, “ find time for just the two of you– make it a priority to still have date night.” I remember thinking, “Well duh! Of course we will still go out on date night!”

When my husband and I were dating, we made it a priority to not get in a “routine” of what our date nights looked like and would call eachother out on it when they began to get “too routine”. (Yes, going out to dinner is nice, but maybe we should take a break from Chili’s or Applebee’s and find something different! ) My husband was great at romantic surprises: picnic lunches at the local winery, showing up at my house with wine and flowers, cooking and planning a game night in together,  or planning a great dinner out at a restaurant we both had never tried. Knowing how we had dated and kept our relationship exciting with special things like this, I never feared that we would have an issue with it once we were married. I never thought twice about the wise words from a dear friend of mine.

Then, we had Kellen. Our  baby boy. And now, I understand my friend’s wise words. I’m tired. I’m worn out from the daily grind of parenthood. We’re on a tight budget with less money flowing in. Instead of planning fun date nights, I look forward to cozying up in my sweatpants, turning on Netflix, and scrolling through my Facebook feed. Why? Money. Time. But really, the fear of leaving our sweet boy with someone other than me or my husband. (Yes, I know I need to cut the cord and leave him sometime!)

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But that’s where my husband reigns. He is the king of still finding ways to date, though married. He is able to “keeping dating” by making me  feel special; by taking the time to build up our marriage each day. You see what he discovered is that dating your wife or husband doesn’t have to be huge or costly; it just takes time. Time to remember what they enjoy, what makes them tick, and what makes them feel special. Time away from the piles of laundry, vacuuming that needs done, or the newest post on Facebook;  traded in for time together and thoughtful gestures. While he has managed to do this throughout our marriage each month through notes in my lunches at work, surprise weekend plans, or just an encouraging morning text message, he seems to be outdoing himself in the dating field this holiday season.

This December, I turn 30. And through the stresses of being a new, first-time mommy, facing the reality that I will have to leave my son soon and return to work, my husband has stepped up his dating game with a 30 day countdown of special gestures, gifts, and surprises to my 30th birthday. Each day, I’ll update on what surprise gesture I received–not to brag (though he is AMAZING!), but in hopes that it may encourage you to find ways to continue to “date” your husband or wife.To take time for each other and set the stress of work, parenting, and life aside for just a few hours to focus on your marriage.

30 Days of Sweet Ideas from my Husband that you could steal:

  1. iMovie made with pictures of me as a baby through now!
  2. Family Date: Making Puppy Chow; idea from a “how to” video I made as a child.
  3. Sushi Date night–my favorite!
  4. Starbucks cup and giftcard–much needed for this tired new mom!
  5.  “Treasure Hunt” for our daughter and me with a matching necklace set at the end for the two of us.
  6. Stuffed animals of my favorite pets as a child–fun memory and stuffed animals for the kids!
  7. Day date trip to where I used to live before we got married–dinner at our first restaurant we ate at together there!
  8. Lunch date at Kentucky Fried Chicken after church– to correlate with a fun story for my childhood when my speech made “kentucky” sound like a curse word!
  9.  Gingerbread house building for a fun family night activity!
  10. “Exhausted Mom” ticket–good for a child free hour of relaxation with candles, music, and a nice bath!
  11.  Family Baking Night– making a reindeer food, a holiday tradition!
  12. Tis the Season…trip to shop and give back to others as a family. We bought gifts for two kids from our local “Angel Tree” for Christmas, a fun memory from when I was a child and my sister and I did this together one year!
  13. Girls’ Spa Afternoon- surprise nail salon trip for me and our daughter !
  14. “Goodwill Hunting”- trip to Goodwill together to buy “costumes” to dress-up as  two of our favorite country music artists, then we went out for lunch like them for a fun date!
  15. Ice-Skating- This is a fun tradition we started together last year! He even arranged for my mother-in-law to meet us there to watch our son!

What do you and your significant other do for date nights? Do you balance life and dating each other well? I’d love to hear ideas from you below!