Maybe I've read too many of Victoria Magazine's Christmas Books, but I've always loved the idea of a candlelight dinner for two in front of the fireplace at Christmas time.
Last year, I finally just did it.
A romantic dinner for two with three kids takes a bit of work.
I planned and made all the food. I chose three types of fondues in my crockpot figuring it would allow our timing some flexibility and not be ruined it we did have trouble.
I served the kids dinner early and had them get all ready for bed. Not wanting to delay our dinner until after the kids normally go to bed, I had planned a special treat so they would be fine with being upstairs early. They each got to unwrap a Christmas present and play with it on their bed. The novelty and fun of it made it work great. Cupcake was little then and just went to sleep. We let the boys play until normal bedtime while we enjoyed our romantic dinner uninterrupted downstairs.
No one was more surprised than me that it all worked. After dinner, we went upstairs, had them up the toys away, and tucked them in with prayers and kisses. Since they were all ready, it just took a few minutes
Then we were able to go back down and enjoy dessert, a chocolate fondue, and the rest of our evening.
This year, I told Sweetheart in November I wanted to do this again, but this time it was HIS turn to make it work. I probably could have been more gracious about it and just done it myself, but sometimes, I get tired of being the memory maker.
Since I gave him enough warning and didn't just expect that he should remember how much fun we had last year and magically plan something on his own, he went with it and did a great job. Comeon, he's good, but how many guys would just do this on their own. And it saved me from being upset with unrealistic expectations that he should just know what I want. That no communication thing, and unspoken expectations, just never work well here.
I think this year went even better not because I didn't have to do anything, but because it's now OUR thing. And I helped anyway. Because I wanted to. And because it was so fun to work together. Plus, I am better at setting the table. ;)
(Disclaimer: This year, we put the boys in Cupcake's room with her in her crib and they all played together with new legos. Sweetheart went up once because there was trouble with Cupcake. I went up once at her bedtime and put her to bed. Sweetheart followed up with the boys a bit later.
So, it wasn't without interruption this time, but it still worked. I think not setting expectations too high, especially with our kids, kept those moments from ruining the evening. As I look back, the interruptions were just a small part of it, and what I remember is just a wonderful time with Sweetheart. It wasn't perfect, but it was.)