Date Ideas: Working-Together Dates

One of the great ways to learn about compatibility is to do dates that see how well you work together. Here are a few ideas:

Cook Dinner Together

You’ve probably heard the term, “Too many cooks in the kitchen.” Cooking together is something married people usually do together a lot, and if the relationship is good, it’s a fun experience.

Do Chores Together

If one of you has some things that need to get done, do it together. Learning how each other prefers to work can be incredibly insightful.

Detective Date

Try to solve a mystery together. There are mysteries all around. If nothing comes to mind, ask a parent about a family history mystery, or check the recent papers or library billboard for a recent minor crime or missing animal. Try to sleuth out the mystery together. The bigger the mystery, the less likely you are to be able to solve it in one date. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get very far, just use it as an excuse to go out again!

Plant a Tree

Plant a tree together in one of your yards or in a local park or garden.

Mine Field

Set something on the far side of a room, and then crumple a bunch of paper and throw it about randomly. Then take turns being blindfolded and trying to get to the thing on the other side of the room. The other person can only help with verbal instructions.

Fix Something

If one of you has a car, computer, or piece of furniture that’s broken or not functioning properly, work on fixing it together.

Build a Balloon Tower

Get a pack of balloons (the bigger the better—both size and numbers), and using only balloons and tape, build a tower as high as you can. Try to reach the ceiling. Oh, and no using walls or other objects for support!

Do a Puzzle Together

Set a timer and put a puzzle together as fast as possible. Puzzles can be a great casual date, but timing yourselves can turn it into a great problem-solving-together date.

Gift Shop Together

If one of you knows someone who’s having a birthday soon—or if Christmas is coming, shop for a gift together. It’s best if both of you know the person, but even if only one of you knows the person, talk about what the person likes so you can work together to find the best gift for him/her.

Silent Date

When you ask your date out, have an activity in mind, but tell them that the trick will be that neither of you can say a single word the entire date. Not only is it a lot of fun, but it’s a fabulous exercise in communication, since it all has to be nonverbal. If you’re going to a restaurant or movie, you may want to have a small notebook or sticky notes on hand to place your order.

Making Moments: New Arrival

Okay, so I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted entries for the Making Moments project I was working on for nine months, but this week my new baby was born, and I decided that if I wanted to start it back up to complete the last three months, this would be a good time to do it, so here I go! I think I’ll post them more often this time, too.

New Arrival:

What an awesome experience! I got to deliver my own baby! Jenni was in the final stages of labor when the doctor turned to me and said, “Oh, by the way, would you like to deliver your baby?”

“Me? Really?”

“Sure. I’ll help you out.”

“Yeah! That would be awesome!”

So they dressed me head to toe in sanitary garb and the doctor coached me through catching the baby. My favorite part of the whole birth experience is the moment the baby is out and moving on its own. It’s even more amazing when you get to be the first to experience that.

Wow!

Minute Memories: My Grandpa

talltabI don’t know if playing music by ear is a gift that can be inherited, but if it is, I can’t take full credit for what I have learned.  I have a long ancestral line of musicians, including trumpeters, harmonica players, singers, band leaders, songwriters, whistlers, and of course, piano players.
talltabMy Grandpa Hathaway played the piano by ear.  I never asked him what kind of technique he used to learn what he played, but I have vivid memories of watching his fingers dance across the keys as the sounds of Beautiful Dreamer and Memories filled my grandparents’ living room.  Their house always had a classic, well-cared for style, with curio-cabinets and intricate mementos of their lives and era.  The piano was situated in the tightest corner of their beautiful living room, with only enough room for the piano and a player, but the music carried throughout the whole house.
talltabNot only did Grandpa teach himself to play that piano, he essentially put the thing together himself – at least after taking it completely apart.  When he and Grandma bought it, they wanted to put it in the downstairs living room, but their stairway was too narrow for a full-size piano.  So Grandpa disassembled the whole thing – with every key removed, and took it down into the living room in pieces.
talltabGrandma hassled him that he would never be able to get the thing back together, but he did, and it is still there today.  I suppose that piano will stay with the house forever.
talltabWe had a piano in our living room, too, though we didn’t have to take it apart to get it there.  I was fourteen when I decided I was going to really learn to play the piano, and that year Grandma and Grandpa Hathaway came for Thanksgiving Dinner.
talltabDuring those contented hours between the feast and the serving of pie, I found myself Continue reading

Making Moments

Making Moments

I believe that life is lived in moments. When I am old, will I look back and remember the daily routines that fill up most of the stuff of each day? I doubt it. Will I remember getting behind on a bill or school assignment? Not likely. Will I remember taking our the garbage and doing the dishes? Not really.

Chores, routines, jobs, and finances may be the mortar that keeps my life from falling quickly to shambles, but a building cannot be made entirely of mortar. And when it comes to living a meaningful life, it is the bricks that I will remember when I look back on my life.

And what are the bricks of my life? The moments – the moment I first noticed the girl who became my wife; the moment my daughter said something hilarious; the moment I felt great pain for a loved one; the moment I first saw my newborn son.

While some moments are life-altering, others just make the day a little more pleasant. Life is lived in moments. When I get so busy that I let such moments pass without my notice, life begins to feel rotten.

I have a wife and two small children. I have a full-time job, a mortgage, and bills stacked high. I’m also a musician and author. I’ve just published my first CD and I’m in the process of redrafting my first book. In addition, I am a partner in a new business that is small but growing. I am very busy. I know how easy it is to let the most important people in my life get the least attention. In fact it’s very hard not to let that happen.

I’ve discovered that it isn’t merely a matter of waiting for these precious moments with my loved ones come. If I wait for moments come, they only come occasionally. I don’t want my life to be made of mortar with a few occasional bricks. I want my life to be lined completely with brick, only using mortar for what it’s intended – to keep the structure together.

I cannot just expect the moments to come. I have to create them. I have to make moments. Whether a moment lasts an hour or only a few seconds, if I want my life to be filled with moments, I have to make them myself.

So I have made a decision. Actually, you might say I’ve begun a project. Remember I am a writer, and since I’m nearly finished with my first book, I need to start working on another. This is my plan: every day for the next year, I will keep a record of at least one moment that happened that day. Every day. I cannot skip, and I cannot make something up. It has to be a real incident, and I have to keep a record for every single day of the year. If I don’t have time to write the full incident on the day it happened, I can record a keyword or two and then write about it later – but the incident must eventually be written.

I’ve decided that for this project, a moment will be defined as a meaningful moment I had with a loved one. It may be a painful moment or a joyful one, so long as it was somehow meaningful. It can be as simple as a joke someone told, with the laugh we shared, or as deep as a desperately needed talk or hug.

In short, this project is an attempt to keep me looking for and making those precious moments that make life meaningful, both for me and my loved ones.

My commitment to record the daily instances keeps me accountable, and my intentions to later publicize them will motivate me to keep going. I’d publicize all of them on this blog – but remember, I’m intending to write a book, and I want to keep enough out of the blog to lure people to buy the book when it’s ready!

I do intend to study and write on some relevant topics on the subject as well, but the bulk of the book will be the complete collection of moments.

I hope this project will help any who read these entries to see that it is possible for anyone, under any circumstance, to reach out to their loved ones and make moments with them.

In terms of this blog, I will be doing other entries as well. This is my writing blog, but since my project will take up a good part of it for the next while, I’ve named it Making Moments.