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Sunday Confessions 07

The United States of Becky

I confess:  When I met Dennis I had a boyfriend.  A boyfriend of over a year.  A boyfriend of over a year who lived with me.  And when Dennis asked me out on the first day we met, I accepted his invitation for a date without a second thought because I had totally forgotten that I had a boyfriend.  Later that day, it dawned on me that I was going to have to find something to do with said boyfriend to actually go out on my date, then realized that that's not how things work, so I had to sheepishly go back over to Dennis and say, "So, you're probably going to think I'm pretty dumb, but I kinda forgot I have a boyfriend..."

I confess:  Six weeks later, I was breaking up with that boyfriend and six weeks after that I moved to Houston to live with Dennis.  Then it only took us 10 more years to get married.  We wanted to make sure we liked each other before we made it official.

I confess:  I met Dennis when I was only 20 years old (he was 32!) and it was love at first sight.  I knew I was going to marry him before we even had our first kiss.  I've practically been with Dennis my entire adult life.  He was smart enough to let me be an immature 20-something instead of expecting me to be like a settled 30-something (even though it drove him crazy at times).  I literally would not be the person I am today without his support and encouragement.  And that's about as mushy as I'm able to be.

14 Amazing Valentine's Day Date Ideas

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I used to really hate Valentine's Day.  Before I met Dennis I was always single (and even got dumped on Valentine's Day once) on Valentine's Day and pined for that perfect romantic day.  I always thought I wanted the typically cliche day full of flowers, chocolates, sappy card, a teddy bear, jewelry, and a romantic dinner at a fancy restaurant.  All that sounds great (and I'm not knocking it), but I've never had that "perfect" Valentine's Day and a few years ago I realized that that's not really the Valentine's Day I want anyway.  Once I got over the idea that I needed to have all those stereotypical things to have a good Valentine's Day, I actually started to enjoy the holiday (for the first time ever).

Valentine's Day is right around the corner and if you're trying to come up with some fun, low-key things to do, I put together a list of 14 amazing Valentine's Day date ideas.  These are dates that would be perfect for any couple, no matter how long they've been together.  I think these date ideas are a lot more fun than the typical candle light dinner options most people think of when trying to plan Valentine's Day.  Plus, if you go on one of these dates, you're pretty much guaranteed moments of laughter and silliness which is way more fun than the serious romance of a candle light dinner.

14 Amazing Valentine's Day Date Ideas

  1. Karaoke.  I've been singing karaoke since I was 13 (and not very well, mind you, but with passion and heart) and I can't think of a single time that I didn't enjoy myself.  There's always an adrenaline rush when you get on stage and it doesn't' matter how skilled of a singer you are.  Belt out some love songs, cheer each other on, and giggle - lots of giggling.
  2. Bowling.  It doesn't matter how good or how bad you are at bowling, it's always fun.  There's usually fun music playing and some bowling alleys even have disco or black-light bowling for more of a dance club feel.  It's loud enough to be exciting (but you don't have to yell to be heard), and it gets you up and moving.  Plus, bowling offers plenty of opportunities to either celebrate a great frame or laugh at yourself for throwing a gutter ball.
  3. Photo Scavenger Hunt.  Take the day to do a little urban (or suburban) exploring.  Come up with a list of things to photograph (graffiti art, someone wearing a blue hat, birds, a taxi), take your smartphones and click some photos.  Try to get as creative as you can (with both the list and the pictures).  Later, print out your favorite photos and hang them in your house or create a photo book from the day!
  4. Go to a Drive-In Movie.  Drive-in movie theatres are making a comeback and are a fun (and romantic) way to see a movie.  Most drive-in theatres offer a double (or even triple) feature for the price of one admission, have better food choices, and some even have playground equipment.  To find a drive-in theatre near you, check out this directory of drive-ins.  Don't have a drive in near you?  Turn your living room into a drive-in.  Put pillows and blankets on the floor, snack on movie food, and enjoy the show!
  5. Putt-Putt.  Another great activity that you don't have to be good at to enjoy.  I also can't think of a single time I've played putt-putt and not had at least one belly laugh.  A little friendly competition can be exciting (take bets on who wins each round - or who looses the worst), and there are now indoor places, so if the weather is bad you can still play.
  6. Drink Wine and Paint.  Have you been to one of those get drunk and paint classes?  They're cropping up all over the place and are so much fun!  You don't need to have any artistic skills to end the night with a painting that's probably good enough to hang in your house.  Most places have date night options where each person paints half of a painting on their canvas and then the canvases can be hung together to make one larger piece of art.
  7. Browse a Bookstore.  This date has the potential to be completely free (who am I kidding - I can't go into a bookstore without spending money).  Go to your local bookstore and browse the aisles.  Find a book you think your honey would like and vice versa.  Take turns reading passages from cheesy romance novels and try not to laugh.
  8. Tour a Brewery.  I'm not much for beer (yuck), but I know I'd enjoy a brewery tour.  With so many micro-breweries cropping up out there, there's probably one not far from you.  Most will offer tours with a sample at the end.  
  9. Go to an Arcade.  I miss the days when a mall would have a movie theatre and and arcade.  I've never been good at video games, but I still hung out at the arcade when crawling the mall as a teenager.  I never pass up an opportunity to go to one of those arcade fun centers and always have a great time!  Bonus if you can collect enough tickets to win a prize!
  10. Go Hiking.  Get out and explore some nature.  Bring a picnic lunch and don't forget your camera.  Make up silly names for all the plants and animals you see for a good laugh.
  11. Go on a Day (or Evening) Cruise.  Most of us live somewhere near water.  Chances are you can find a local day or evening cruise on a nearby river or lake.  Some might even offer dinner or drinks!
  12. Explore a Flea Market.  You never know what quirky things you'll come across at a flea market.  Spend the day trying to find the weirdest thing at the market.  You can also set a small budget and try to find something for only $10 that you'll love.
  13. Backyard Camping.  Pitch a tent in your backyard and pretend that you're camping.  Cook out on your grill and don't forget to make s'mores.  Tell ghost stories and look at the stars.
  14. Test Drive Cars.  Even if you're not in the market for a new car, it can be fun to do to different dealerships and test drive what they have to offer.  Try out a sports car or a fancy luxury car - you don't have to limit yourself to what's practical or in your budget.
No matter what you decide to do on Valentine's Day, the important thing is to have fun.  Hopefully this list gives you some inspiration on how you spend your day.  What are some of your most fun date ideas?  What's your most memorable Valentine's Day?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments!!

Weekend Snapshots 06

This edition of Weekend Snapshots is brought to you by crazy bike riding Jack.  We had a fun weekend full of friends, Mardi Gras, and the Super Bowl (not that I care about anything other than the commercials and halftime show).  As always, I'm linking up with Ariana (and you should, too!), plus if you want that nifty linky widget to show up on your Weekend Snapshots post, grab the code here!

Saturday I picked up a little work at a day spa not far from our house.  One of my good friends is the spa director there and when they're short a therapist I'll try to fill in to earn a little extra cash.  Dennis and Jack dropped me off and had an adventure at Home Depot, then came back for me so we could high tail it down to Galveston to catch the Knights of Momus Mardi Gras Parade.  We didn't want to have to search for parking, so we brought the bikes and parked blocks away from the parade route.  Jack kept making silly faces when I was trying to take pictures - that kid is such a ham!

The parade route had just enough people there.  I can't stand huge crowds, but don't like a scarce parade route, either.  There were enough spectators there to have a fun and festive vibe without being suffocating.  One of the houses was blasting music and people were dancing in the streets.  Everyone was having a great time and were nice and friendly.  We walked the streets a little before deciding on a spot to watch the parade.  Jack didn't want to be front and center, but that's okay because you stand less chance of getting squished and can actually catch beads more easily.  It didn't take long for Jack to figure out how to hold up his hands and wave for beads.  This wasn't his first Mardi Gras parade, but it was the first one where he kinda knew what was going on.  He had so much fun!

The theme of the parade was superheros.  I usually try to get a picture of every float, but have finally learned my lesson.  The pictures turn out blurry and I have more fun when I'm not worried about taking pics and focus on catching beads.  Of course, I had to get a pic of the Batman float, cause Batman is my favorite!

Sunday, Dennis went to play Dungeons & Dragons {affiliate}, so Jack and I met up with friends for lunch.  I didn't get any pics because Jack was being a handful and there was as much toddler wrangling as eating.  That evening, we all went to a friend's house for a Super Bowl party.  Now, I couldn't care less about sportsball (and don't ask me who was playing), but it's always nice to enjoy a good party.  There were other kids there and Jack actually spent most of the time there hanging with the kids instead of glued to me.  Which was surprising.  And of course, he made friends with Sprocket the dog, too.  I was totally disappointed in the commercials and the halftime show, but was having too much fun at the party to care.

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