Saturday, February 27, 2010

Creative Date Nights

Mr. J and I instituted date night in our relationship at about the 1 year mark. We were both serious about each other, living separately, and both uber busy with work, school, and other priorities. We didn't have a specific date night, we just looked at our schedules every week and chose a new day to have quality time.

After we moved in together, we kept date night. Especially because I'm a night owl and Mr. J is a morning we were basically watching each other sleep throughout the week. Our date nights were pretty standard, go to a restaurant and make googly eyes at each other, go to a movie and hold hands, or go to hear live music and sing together. I read an article in the New York Times a while ago, "Reinventing Date Night for Long-Married Couples." I think this article is important, not just for long-married couples, but for all couples. The main thing I took away was that by learning something together as a couple, you can strengthen your bond.

Because it's freezing cold and we've been snowed in--Mr. J and I have to be really creative having date night at home and not falling into the rut of Netflix and dinner :) For our last date night we got really creative and decided to paint portraits of each other to hang in our bedroom. We both are creative, but we haven't painted a picture since watercolors in kindergarten. We went to an art store after work, picked up our supplies, got some takeout and wine. We were painting until about 3 a.m. (almost done!).

We learned that we've both got some skillz, y'all! We both can already draw, but it was hard to execute our sketches into paintings. We also bought two smaller canvases so that we can eventually paint our two cats and have a whole family portrait wall. We're planning on taking a painting class together during the summer when Mr. J has summer vacation and things are slower for me at work. I can't wait!

Check out our paintings! Keep in mind that we're not completely done yet. (I need to make Mr. J's teeth look less like Chiclets and he needs to give me a nose!) ***And please forgive me for the large photos, I'll resize photos moving forward, too lazy now :)

First time painting: Success!

Babe, where's my nose?

We based our portraits on this photo of us
taken by Richard Louissaint.

What creative date nights have you had? Do you have any more creative ideas for us? Share!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Marrying into Debt

I have student loans. Mr. J doesn't. When we met, Mr. J was a master's student (English lit), he took the long route, taking one or two classes a semester and summer classes for years. He paid for grad school without loans and had a free tuition ride for undergrad. I have loans from undergrad (yay loans) and more loans from my MFA in creative writing which I just finished up in December.

So, the point is, Mr. J has married a woman with debt. A lot of student loans. Last week Mr. J showed me what it means to have a partner. One of my private loan lenders from undergrad called me and offered me a deal since I've paid consistently for years--a one-time payout of half of my loan if I could come up with the money in 30 days. I only had half of the money in savings. I told Mr. J about the offer and the first thing out of his mouth was, "Well, let's pay this thing off!" And he said we could just split the cost down the middle. I had a koolaid smile on my face. I wasn't expecting him to offer to pay for half, I was going to ask him to cover the amount I couldn't cover...instead he would give me half and I'd be able to keep more money in savings.

Sometimes I forget that we're in this together. He doesn't have to help me with my student loan debt. And yet he wants to. Gotta love this man!