Thanks to my mom and dad being willing to watch the kids, S and I were able to start of 2011 on a very happy note: some much-needed time together without the kids in tow!
I was able to arrange for a night away thanks to a nice hotel room reward from our credit card, which I'd redeemed on the sly over the summer and set up with my parents when they planned their trip here for the holiday. It turned out that on our requested date there wasn't a lot of availability in the area -- San Jose airport, Oakland Airport, or Newark, California were the best choices available. Hmmm.
After a little researching, I discovered the Newark option was right down the road from Ardenwood farm park, where the butterflies would be hanging out for the winter. And of course there's my natural fondness for All Things Newark (even on the West Coast) having been born and raised in Newark, Del. And that's where S and I fell in love. So I gave it a romantic spin as a "Night in Newark" certificate on Christmas. It was fun to be able to surprise him.
We spent our night away on January 1st as homebodies away from home, enjoying a yummy Thai dinner at a restaurant near the hotel and then snuggling up together to watch a movie (Ponyo, which the kids had given S for Christmas) read together, and play some games (Lost Cities and Puerto Rico, card games that we've both been enjoying quite a bit). A relaxing, quiet evening together is exactly what I'd hoped for, and it's exactly what we had. Yay for that!
When we visited Ardenwood the next day, it was a little rainy so the butterflies weren't very active. But we enjoyed the naturalist's talk about butterfly migration, spotted some clustered butterflies up in the Eucalyptus trees, and got to watch the peacocks strutting.
Mostly, it was just really wonderful to have the chance to spend some relaxing time in each other's company. Walking together under an umbrella, hand in hand (when was the last time I was able to walk, hand in hand, with my husband for any length of time?), sleeping in, enjoying the quiet, shared moments together -- it's a good thing to be reminded of why you're so fond of the person with whom you've chosen to spend your whole life.
Not that one forgets, exactly, but in the bustle of parenting and working and doing what needs to be done, day after day, those sorts of connections can get muted and harder to notice. I'm not making any official "resolutions" this year, but in 2011 I will be doing my best to pay more pay attention to them and make more time for quiet togetherness with my husband. Because more of what we had on January 1st and 2nd of this year can only be a good thing!