I read somewhere that experiences make better memories than things. That bit of wisdom has always stuck with me. So Matt and I try to do something on our anniversary and we try to make it something we've never done before. On our very first anniversary, we took a super long bike ride and got lost in some hilly terrain surrounded by quaint, ivy-covered, brick cottages. We then stayed at the hotel where we had our reception (we did not stay there the night we got married, so they gave us the room for our 1st anniversary), got drinks at the in-house bar/club, and stayed up late watching a movie on Pay-per-view, some things we'd never done before, very Breakfast At Tiffany's style. One year we went kayaking (how I discovered I love kayaking), one year we went indoor rock climbing. I have a terrible memory, but I can remember what we did during all of the anniversaries when we had experiences. But one year, the year I was pregnant with Abigail, we did the classic dinner-and-a-movie thing. And I don't really remember it. If I hadn't written it down in a special notebook I have for such things, I would not have remembered it was even dinner and a movie.
Now don't get me wrong, dinner and a movie can be a lot of fun, but for us? That's something we do on a date night when it's cold outside. That's something we can re-create at home with RedBox when we're being cheap. That's not anniversary special. When we're old and gray, I don't want to start conversations with, "Hey, remember that one movie we saw?" I'd rather it be, "Hey remember that one time we went kayaking and a dolphin swam up next to our kayak?" (Yes, that really happened on our second anniversary).
But my goodness, planning an anniversary on a budget, when it's still going to be cold outside, for a time when I'll be 36 weeks pregnant is challenging. Talk about limiting our options. I need something that involves mostly sitting, but not constant sitting as I'll need to get up and stretch my legs often. I need something where I can make quick trips to the bathroom on short notice. We do have some money for our big 0-6, but we'll need to be careful with it. And lastly, I wouldn't mind if it kind of doubled as a babymoon, as it will probably be our last date for a while.
So yeah. Even though our anniversary isn't until late April, I've been mulling over ideas in my head for the last month or so because I was pretty sure it was going to have to be dinner and a movie again. After the occasional chat with other girls, Google searches for "date night ideas," and perusals of Groupon.com, I was considering it pretty hopeless.
Until I found The Answer.
The Answer that perfectly fit all of our criteria: an experience, something we'd never done before, something with a good mix of sitting/standing, something inexpensive, something babymoon-esque.
When I first mentioned it to Matt, I said it half-jokingly. Until he realized, "Babe - that's The Answer!" It took about 1.4 seconds for it to sink in. Yes! Yes, it is! It's The Answer.
A road trip.
Now I know what you're thinking: You've driven from Florida to Michigan half a dozen times, how the *#%& can you say you've never been on a road trip?!
Let me explain. When we drive across the country-side, we load up the car, we eat fast food, and we drive on freeways. The only times we stop are when we eat or pee. There is not much scenery. We've never been on a take-the-backroads, stop-at-cool-looking-places, make-a-new-playlist road trip.
It's perfect! Lots of sitting with lots of stops for leg-stretching at cool-looking places. Lots of time in the car to have conversations and lots of time exploring various haunts to have experiences. And talk about inexpensive - we can pack a lunch to eat picnic-style, load up on snacks from the dollar store ($10 at a dollar store goes a long way in snack world), and use our camera to get souvenirs. So we'll just be springing for gas, dinner somewhere local, and an ice cream or coffee stop.
We'll be headed to a town on Lake Michigan that would be a 1.5 hour trip if we were driving straight through. But we'll take the side-streets. Enjoy the ride there. Then we'll cruise up-and-down the coast, eat dinner somewhere on the water, and take the freeway home.
There is only one caveat, and it's kind of a big one: Abigail. Abigail has never been without either Matt or I for more than about five hours. I've got super separation anxiety thinking about leaving her for an entire day. Then when I think about leaving her for an entire day in April and at least an entire day again in May? Ugh. It's a good thing I've still got five weeks to figure out the babysitter situation, because I'm going to need at least two of those to pretend like I don't have to deal with separation and instead focus on what songs make the best driving songs.
So back to something positive: my one mission while on this trip. We need to find something at least partially made of iron to hang from the rearview mirror. Since Matt and I share a car, we both have to agree on the "decorations" that go in said car. And the traditional sixth anniversary gift is iron. Right now we got nothing hanging from our rearview mirror. I can't think of a better way to commemorate this trip.