We don’t really celebrate our “dating anniversary” anymore, but we did for so long that the date January 10th will always be remembered. On that day in 2003 (our senior year of high school), Steve and I went on our first date. He picked me up with a beautiful bouquet of purple snapdragons and we went to a nice Italian restaurant.
After that summer of fun, we headed to separate colleges… he went to Iowa State and I went to University of Iowa. We were two hours apart. We did our best to see each other and probably did twice a month at best. It was hard. After a year of dating, he finally said “I love you.”
After that year, I transferred to Iowa State. I wanted to go into animal science and they have one of the best programs… plus, Steve was there, so…. that helped 😉
We had fun. We had ups and downs. We “separated” once and it lasted a week, ha. We lived in apartment buildings across the parking lot from each other. I spent 6 weeks in Australia in 2006. When I got back, we moved in together. We had 2 cats. In 2007 we took separate spring break vacations. I went on a Caribbean cruise with some girlfriends and he went to Vegas with the guys.
When we both got back to Iowa, he proposed.
He made dinner. He led me to the basement where there were flowers and rose petals and candles everywhere. There was a fancy dessert. I turned around to say something like, “omg, this is awesome, thank you!” but he was down on one knee. I yelled “no!” A moment of excitement and confusion, haha, as my answer was actually, “yes!” He gave a little speech about best friends.
I was in grad school and I remember asking my major professor for permission to take a couple of weeks off the next May to get married and go on a honeymoon. I wanted a spring wedding and the date couldn’t have been more perfect… May 17th was my grandpa’s birthday and a Norwegian holiday. We spent a lovely week in St. Lucia.
Today marks our 11-year dating anniversary. Last year was our 5-year wedding anniversary. Here are some of our best anniversary date nights and trips:
Anniversary #1 (2009): I was newly pregnant with Ryan. We went to dinner at that same Italian restaurant where we had our first date. We ate our frozen wedding cake (gross). We took a canoe trip down the river–that was awesome.
Anniversary #2 (May 2010): we had a 4.5 month old at home… we didn’t get too crazy… we went out for dinner to our favorite Fondue place! YUM.
Getaway Time (Nov 2010)! Keeping the romance alive…. especially when you have a baby at home that tends to take it all away, haha. We just went away for one night to Lake Geneva (about 1.5 hours from home). We rented “scoot coupes.” We had champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. We had fun!
Anniversary #3 (May 2011): I wrote about how we met. On this anniversary, I was home with Ryan when I was surprised with flowers (with snapdragons!), a balloon, and chocolates (Fannie May, my favorite)! I made his favorite white pizza for dinner. That weekend we got away for a night to a little cabin at Hickory Hideaway… we visited a winery and just relaxed.
Getaway Time (Jan 2012): It was our last getaway before baby #2… back to our favorite place in Lake Geneva!
Anniversary #4 (May 2012): ummmm, oops? I have no idea. Apparently I didn’t blog this one. We had a 2.5 month old baby girl at this anniversary! Along with our 2.5 year old son… we may have been a little busy lol. Ahhh, I remember… we had a nice night of fondue at home! Cheese fondue followed by chocolate fondue. If you don’t own a fondue pot, get one. Easiest and best at-home date night!
Anniversary #5 (May 2013): When we were on our honeymoon we said we’d be back on our 5-year wedding anniversary. We had wanted to climb Mt. Piton and didn’t get the chance so we had to come back someday. I think we forgot to factor in having children…………. but we did still getaway to warmer weather! We went to Miami for 4 nights and stayed at the lovely James Royal Palm. It was awesome. I didn’t blog about it… apparently I’ve been a little busy :/ A goal this year is more personal blogging. Back to the roots!
We took a sunset catamaran cruise. We went on an airboat ride in the Everglades. We spent a ridiculous amount on drinks and food (welcome to Miami!). We slept on the beach.
Getaway Time (August 2013)! This time we took the kids… it was a family vacation to Cozumel. My parents went, too, and it was originally for my brother’s 30th birthday, but he ended up being unable to come. We took a sunset catamaran sail, played on the beach, and did lots of swimming. The kids loved it!
And the best parts of the last 11 years (or 5 wedding anniversaries)? The little things. When Steve does the grocery shopping and comes home with a bouquet of flowers or my favorite chocolate bar. When he surprises me with breakfast in bed. When we escape for a dinner out or, even better, when we have a family date night with the kids. Last year for Valentine’s Day I made him cookies that said all the reasons I love him. The other night he was working from home and when he left his computer for a moment, I snuck on to create a love note with Paint. When we take just a few seconds out of the day to remember each other and write a note or send a text.
If I start to feel distant, I demand a date night and it really is that simple… we need a little space and a little time to reconnect. One night getaways are great once or twice a year and they can be done inexpensively (I watch groupon for deals at our favorite hotel in Lake Geneva and always use those)!
Happy 11 years, babe! Hmmm, now I’m wondering what to surprise him with when he gets home from work tonight!!! Maybe I should set up a babysitter so we can get out. Or we can have a movie night at home… hmmm… I better start thinking. I’ll take your ideas, too!
What are your favorite date nights?